The letter Barbara wrote to Dick is verbatim from the 2007 Nightwing annual. This story is set after the Crisis and when Dick first settles into his new home in New York City.


Defining Dick Grayson
by DC Lady

Dick wondered if he'd learned anything at all about his life. That was what he was supposed to do when he'd left with Bruce and Tim on that long trip after the Crisis was finally over--learn about himself, discover the real Dick Grayson. But Dick ended the trip early, and he wondered if things would be different if he'd stayed. If he would still be compelled to keep coming back to Metropolis every week from his new home in New York City, his back pressed against the edge of this building, peering around the corner for just a brief glimpse of her.

Babs.

He wished he would have stayed with Bruce. Then, he wished he would have never left in the first place, then maybe he'd still be with her. He was confused about everything except that he still wanted her. But that wasn't enough anymore.

Babs had known that it wouldn't be enough.

Dick,


A letter is a bit chicken, I know. So, sue me. We both know you have to go with Bruce. Not because of him, but because of you. I love the man you are, Dick, but you need to be happy with him, too.


Not the Flying Grayson. Not the billionaire's ward. Not Robin, not Nightwing, not the Bludhaven cop. And not Barbara Gordon's husband.


You have spent your whole life defining yourself by others. Putting yourself last. It's an admirable quality, Dick. It's what makes you a hero. Now you need to find out what makes you a man.


Go. It may hurt both of us for a while, but it has to happen.


Don't worry. I'll be here when you get back. And I can't wait to meet Dick Grayson. I'm sure he's a pretty amazing guy.


Love always,
Babs


She was right. She'd always known him better than he seemed to know himself. He wondered if she knew how much it hurt him that he would have to find a life for himself in a city that wasn't Bludhaven, without a job to occupy his days, and without her to make him feel less alone at night. Dick wondered if she even knew that he watched her. Waited to see her when she'd pull up to the grocery store, of all places.

His life was different. He was different. Seeing a city he promised to protect destroyed could do that to a guy. Seeing her without being able to touch her, hold her, kiss her, could do that, too.

He looked at his watch and frowned. She was late. She'd never been this late before. It was the only consistent routine she seemed to have, and he was surprised that she had let her guard down enough to have this one. He hoped it was because she felt safe here.

But dammit, she was late. He knew where she lived, and if he didn't see her in the next few minutes, he'd have no other choice but to go there--to make sure she wasn't in trouble. But Babs could take care of herself--had others who took care of her. He knew what his presence would do to her, even if she was the one who broke off their engagement. And he knew he'd have to leave her again because he still didn't who the hell Dick Grayson was. But, he wanted to find out. More importantly, he didn't want to find out for her anymore. He wanted it for himself.

He saw her drive up, leaned back up against the wall where he couldn't see her--where she couldn't see him--and sighed. "Goodbye, Babs." He wouldn't be back next week, or the week after, or after that. He couldn't, not if he was serious about his life, the one he was forced to live when the masks were off. Bruce had learned to do it; it was the reason for the trip, after all. A family venture, not one with the heroes Bruce had helped to create.

Dick smiled. He hadn't seen his family in a while. He grabbed his cell phone and punched in the pre-programmed number for the Manor--to home, not that he lived there, anymore, but it was still home. Something he'd learned to accept--something he learned from his short time with Bruce and Tim abroad.

"Wayne Manor, Alfred speaking."

"Hey, Alf. I was thinking of coming over tonight." If he left now he would make it in time for dinner.

Dick could envision the thin smile on Alfred's face. He was always asking Dick to stop by. "Well, then you are in luck. It seems that I am cooking all of your favorites tonight."

Dick smiled. "I'll be there soon, then." He pocketed his phone and didn't look back at the parking lot. He knew he would come back to her someday--just like he knew she would be waiting for him to.

First, he had a life to build, and for the first time in a very long time, he couldn't wait to get started.