Disclaimer: Batman, Nightwing and Arsenal are the properties of DC COMICS. This is an original fan fiction story, not written for profit.

Author's Note: In case you are somewhat new to the Bat mythos, Robbie is the nickname of Nightwing from way back in his Robin the Boy Wonder days.

A Good Man

By: Shannyn Grayson Ivy

I knew it would happen- it was only a matter of time...

A life spent training to best whatever 'super' villain came along. Is it fate or coincidence that my ending comes in a dark alley, brought to me by a two bit cowardly hood? I've been here before. My parents, shot in the chest. And now...so am I.

If I weren't in so much pain I would laugh at the irony of it all. But I can't laugh. I know I'm dying. There is no way to save myself and no time left to ponder if I ever accomplished anything at all in this war I have forsaken everything to embrace...

I can feel my life force leaving me. I need to tell him. I fumble with my cell. Shaking, bloody fingers almost hit the button for 'son' but I can't do this over the damned phone. He will need someone to take care of him when he gets the news. He will need to yell and cry, hit and hug all at the same time. It will take a good man who will have to be part friend, part brother. Without hesitation I dial the number...

"Harper...Dick...needs...you..."

VVVVV

Familiar voices wrapped in love fill my senses. I am home. My mother's laughter, my father's smile is all there to greet me. I wonder vaguely why I waited so long to come here, so long to accept what is meant to be. They are my parents and I am everything to them. I have to stay...

A figure is kneeling beside my physical body. Although I cannot see it I am oddly aware of its presence. I feel no threat. I feel...nothing at all. Strange.

"Oh God! Come on Bats, don't do this!"

I know that voice but I can't remember who it belongs to or maybe I don't want to remember. I hear my mother calling me...I must go.

"Damn it! Don't think he's going to forgive you for this because he won't! I'll be sure to tell him that you didn't have the balls to fight to stay with him!"

The voice is angry but I feel only peace and contentment. I close my eyes for what I know will be the last time.

"I can't believe you're such a coward! Fight damn you!"

A coward? I have rarely been called that before. Still, it doesn't matter anymore. Soon I will be reconnected to those I love, those who love me.

I feel pressure on my chest. It takes me a few moments to realize I am being given CPR. Why can't they leave me be? I don't want to go back. I want to stay. Stay with my parents forever...

"He needs you Bruce. I'm begging ya man, don't put Robbie through this."

The voice is calmer now but so sad. Robbie. He said Robbie.

My eyes flicker. I must see, is Robbie here? Is my son here?

My mother calls to me again. It is time to go with them. How can I? I can't leave Robbie alone...

My father says everything will be alright. All I have to do is follow him into the light. My father never lies. If he says everything will be alright then he must mean Robbie too. I turn to follow him although now I'm strangely reluctant to do so. I know what it feels like to lose a parent. If I can spare Robbie that pain then I should, right? Torn between my love for those I have lost and the one person who has always been the light in my life the choice seems surprisingly clear.

With a great amount of effort I force myself to breath. My father doesn't lie. Robbie would probably be just fine without me. Still, that's a chance I don't want to take. I want to be damned sure I'm around if he needs me. My father and the bright light fade from my view. I'm back and I have only one thing I want to say to the man that pulled me back kicking and screaming...

"Harper...don't EVER call me a coward again..." I growl through clinched teeth. He smiles gleefully back at me.

"Yes sir." He answers in a mock salute.

Damn that kid annoys me...