Still don't own Nightwing or anything DC related. Not suing would be appreciated.

Anyway, thanks for the reviews. Sorry for the delay for the last chapter, enjoy. Thank you for all the reviews and help.


Dick shivered like he had spent the night in the north Atlantic, but at least he was asleep. Roy and Barbara took turns at his side for a few hours. Bruce returned to the room just as the sun broke over the horizon.

"How is he?" Bruce leaned against the doorframe.

Roy turned. "All right, I guess."

"I have to go, but I'll stop by later."

"We'll still be here. Good luck." Roy smiled.

"Thanks." Bruce left.

Barbara came into the room a half hour later with two cups of coffee. She handed one to Roy and sat down in a chair. He took a few slow drinks and leaned back. Dick shifted and pulled the blankets tighter around his shoulders.

"Is he okay?" Barbara asked.

"Yeah, but I'll tell Leslie to stop by later, just to make sure." He looked over at her. "What's up?"

She shrugged. "Dad said he could use some help down at the station, but…"

"Go. He'll be okay." Roy smiled. "Besides, he'd probably feel more guilty if he knew you were sitting by his side as crime ran rampant in the streets. That is, when he's done feeling shitty."

"I should only be gone an hour or two." She looked over at Dick. "He'll understand?"

Roy took her hand. "He's fine. I'll call if he can't live without you."

She smiled for the first time in days. "Thanks."

She leaned over and kissed Dick's forehead. Barbara glanced back at him once before she left.

Roy was sitting in an armchair with a book half finished when Dick woke. He sat up slowly and wrapped the tangled blankets around his shoulder. For the moment he only focused on sitting.

"It lives."

Dick turned to Roy and managed a small smile. "It's just an illusion." His voice was rough.

"What do you need?" Roy stood.

He shivered. "I'm going to grab a shower and then – what time is it?"

"Just after two in the afternoon."

He nodded. "Maybe a late lunch then." He looked up. "Where's Barbara?

"Had to go help Gordon with a case. I'll go heat up some soup." Roy left the room.

He gathered the strength and will to stand. He reluctantly shed the blankets and stood. The floor shifted slightly under his feet and his shivering increased. He was weaker than he realized and was starting to fill in the blanks as to how long he was out.

Dick went into the bathroom and caught sight of himself in the mirror. His hair was more than tousled and his face was pale beneath the start of a thick beard. Dark circles underlined his weary blue eyes and saw the glimmer of desperation that he was ashamed of. He could tell that he had dropped some weight and his hands trembled as he braced himself against the counter. A few small waves of nausea washed over him, but they weren't enough to give much thought to and he hadn't eaten in nearly a day.

Slowly he stripped and stepped under the hot water. It did little to warm him and he continued to shiver even though there was very little cold water used. He felt hollow and empty, like a space inside him and been carved out. He wanted to spend hours under the water, but knew he wasn't strong enough to keep standing for much longer. He turned off the shower and wrapped a thick towel around his waist.

The familiar routine of shaving, teeth brushing and the quick run of his fingers through his hair brought back a little normalcy into the recent chaos of his life. Dick pulled on sweatpants, a tee shirt, a long sleeved shirt and a sweatshirt. He couldn't shake the cold that seeped from his core.

He appeared at the kitchen table looking simply worn out rather than strung out. Roy placed a small bowl of soup and a piece of unbuttered toast in front of his friend. Dick ate slowly and found that it was the first meal in a long time that he actually wanted to eat.

Roy sat across from him with a sandwich. "How are you?"

"Better." He shrugged. "Freezing, though."


"A little."

"I'm no doctor, but I'd say you're out of the worst of it." Roy smiled a little.

He couldn't finish the soup and he started to think that laying down would be a good idea again. "Thanks, Roy." His voice betrayed the humiliation and shame that he tried to hide.

"We all need help sometimes. God knows I have." Roy picked up the dishes and placed a glass of water in front of Dick. "Finish that and get some more sleep."

"It's not a bad idea." He took a small drink and wanted something to settle his stomach.

Leslie knocked on the door and Roy let her in. She smiled when she saw Dick and sat down next to him. Roy handed her a cup of coffee.

She looked over at Dick. "You seem better."

"Getting there." He pulled his hands into his sleeves as a chill wracked his frame.

"Are you feeling cold?"

"Freezing." He started to shiver again.

She took a few things form her medical bag and gave him a quick look to make sure he was all right. "Medically, you're all right. Just make sure you're drinking and resting plenty."

He nodded.

"Are you still feeling nauseous?"

He nodded again. "More now than when I first got up."

"Call me if the vomiting starts again. The chills should subside in a day or so." She stood. "I have an appointment, but give me a call if you need anything. All right?"

"Sure, thanks."

She rested her hand on his shoulder. "Anything for you."

After she left, he shakily stood and went back to bed. The longer he was up, the more the room spun around him. He pulled the blankets tight around his shoulders. He looked over at Roy standing in the doorway.

"You all right?"

"Just going to get some sleep."

Roy looked down as though contemplating asking the question or not. "Sill desperate for a hit?"

He shrugged. "A little, I guess, it's not too bad." He closed his eyes. "Will I ever feel normal again?"

"You will. You've been through the worst, Dick, but you made it."

Barbara appeared behind Roy and smiled. "You shaved."

He opened his eyes. "And showed, and ate something. How's the city?"

"Bruce has it covered now." She went over and sat next to him on the bed.

"Stay with me for a little bit?"

She brushed his hair back. "Of course."

He moved his hand out from under the blankets and gripped her fingers. He drifted back to sleep.


As the days passed, Dick continued to grow stronger and better. Barbara and Roy still stayed with him, but more as friends rather than caregivers or babysitters. Bruce stopped by less and less, but Dick knew it was because Bruce worried less about him.

Three weeks after he came home from the hospital he was back at work. He voluntarily checked himself into a narcotics anonymous group, just for a little bit to keep the demons and cravings under control. Sometimes he still caught himself thinking about how good a hit of goss would feel, but he didn't want to go down that road ever again.

Two days after he was back at the station, he started his patrols at night again. The blue and black costume did more for his recovery than nearly anything else. He fought hard to get a control on the drugs that flowed through the streets, he saw himself in junkies and it strengthened his resolve to fight against the darkness that nearly took him.

He had missed Alex's funeral, but he stopped by the headstone one day after his shift.

"I'm sorry, I'll make it right." Was all Dick said before he turned back to the city he swore (in more ways than one) to protect.