A Different Game: 5d:

Bruce watched as Bane loomed over Dick and Tim. Gritting his teeth, Bruce looked around the airplane, searching for something -- anything -- he could find to stop Bane. The batarang had only stopped Bane for the moment. If only he could walk on his own. But he was too weak, and Tim was too young, and Dick was too exhausted. Bruce remembered how Bane had broken him in his exhaustion. This was worse, because he was helpless to do anything other than watch Bane do the same thing to his son.

"I think we gotta know when to say 'uncle'."

Tim looked at Dick wide-eyed. He couldn't believe what he had just heard. "Uncle! You're giving up? Dick, we can't give up now! Not after everything!"

"Who said we're giving up?" Dick replied with a wink. "I think we ought to tag team for a while."

With his hands palm down on the ground, Dick pushed his body upward, both feet forcefully connecting with Bane's chest. Tim lunged at Bane's legs, kicking the larger man in the shins. Flipping up from the connection, Dick landed in front of Bane. His ribs burned with pain, but he had to continue the fight. Quickly he started his attack again. They had to work together to succeed. Tim continued attacking Bane's legs, like a logger trying to take down a massive oak. Bruce watched as his protégés worked together like a well oiled machine. They were preventing Bane from having any contact with either of them. Yet, Bruce worried how long they could keep it up.

Bane grabbed Tim by the scruff of the neck, choking the boy as he lifted him off the ground. Dick threw himself against Bane's harm, loosening his grip on Tim. Together, Dick and Tim rolled to safety. But it was only a momentary refuge as Bane quickly turned and started for them. Looking up at Bane as he approached them, a wide grin formed on Dick's face. "Told you no giving up bro. Bane's going down."

Tim smiled.

Bane stared at them. "And are you going to take me down?"

"Under different circumstances, but I think I'll sit this one out. Why don't you turn around," Dick said as a wide grin formed on his face.

"You are a fool to think I would fall for that," Bane began when he felt a tap on his shoulder. Cautiously, he turned.

"My 'nephew' called," Superman said as he punched Bane. Bane fell against the plane. Shaking off the punch, he lunged at Superman.

Clutching his sore ribs, Dick stood up. Tim followed, trying to help him. "Let's get in the plane, out of the way. He'll take care of things," Dick said with a wide grin as he watched Superman battling with Bane. Moving to the door of the plane, Dick smiled at Bruce, "Thanks for the help."

"Always happy to. Wish I could've done more."

"So do I. I really would like to --"

"We all would, Dick," Tim added, "but we can enjoy the show."

It was apparent with each hit that Superman was amplifying his strength, gauging his opponent's tolerance levels. Superman uppercut Bane with a powerful blow. The blow sent Bane flying backwards through the air. The trees in the distance stopped his flight. Bane hit the ground -- hard. Rolling to his knees, Bane struggled to stand, only to fall over backwards, unconscious.

"Thanks for coming," Dick said to Superman as he moved closer to the plane.

"Glad to help. I'm also glad that Barbara and I knew what you meant when you said 'uncle'," Superman replied.

"Uncle?" Bruce growled low as he shook his head, "I am an only child."

Dick rolled his eyes at Bruce as he continued talking to Superman. "I'm glad the comm link was still working. I heard it crackle in my ear and then I couldn't hear anything else, didn't know if you got the message."

"Received it loud and clear," Superman said as he floated up eye level with Bruce. "And you have no idea how good it is to see you. We've all thought you were dead."

"Part of this 'long story' I keep hearing about?"

"Yes. Your boys have a lot to tell you."

"I'm beginning to see that," Bruce replied as he watched Dick and Tim jump up into the plane.

"Oh," Tim started, "Bane disabled the plane. I think we'll need a lift Superman."

Superman smiled at the young Robin. "That can be arranged, unless Bruce wants to walk back to Gotham," he said as he watched Bruce grimace at the suggestion. Superman smiled, it was good to have things back to normal. "First let me deposit Bane and his associate at the local prison and we'll be on our way back to Gotham."

"Um ... they no longer have a gate," Dick said sheepishly.

"I'll see what I can do about that," Superman said as he flew off, picking up Bane and the Bird on his way.

Pulling the plane door shut, Dick and Tim picked Bruce up and helped him into a chair. They set him down in the chair and made sure he was comfortable, then sat across from him. A wide grin grew on Dick's face.

"What's that about?" Bruce asked stoically.

"Just happy to see you."

"What did Bane mean about you two escaping from an American prison? And don't tell me long story, we have time."

Dick and Tim looked at each other, then Dick began. "Okay, the short version is, we all thought you were dead. GCPD thought you were dead. Tim and I were arrested for your murder, tried convicted, sentenced to death, escaped --"

"YOU were sentenced to death! I got life, the jury liked me better," Tim added.

"Whatever," Dick replied in a light tone.

Bruce looked at them. He couldn't be hearing what they were saying, he must not be comprehending them. "There is no way that a murder trial's been held in just the few months since I've been missing."

"Yes it was. We ... well ... we pushed for it to be fast. I guess maybe we shouldn't have done that. But Bruce, Dick and me, we couldn't just sit in jail ... not for a year or more which is what our lawyers were talking about. Beside, we needed to be out looking for you," Tim said almost defensively.

"So," Dick started again, "we pushed for a speedy trial and we got it. I was so sure we'd be acquitted because I knew we were innocent. No one else seemed to see that though."

Bruce rubbed his throat as he listened to the boys telling him of their ordeal. "Tim, some water please," he asked. As Tim got up and hurriedly went to the on board refrigerator for a bottle of water, Bruce reached across and took Dick's hand. "I can't believe you were convicted? Both of you? Tim's a juvenile -- "

Dick sighed, "That's when we broke out. I couldn't let that happen. I wouldn't be able to protect him. I had to do something. I know I took a chance with our identities doing that Bruce, but we had no other choice --"

"Dick," Bruce said forcefully, "don't apologize to me about what you did. Our identities are not worth your lives. What you've been through, that's my fault. I should've been able to stop Bane when they came to the manor after me."

"We're not the only ones who've had a rough time. I don't even want to think about what you've been through," Dick said as Tim handed Bruce a bottle of water and sat down beside Dick.

"It was ... unpleasant," Bruce said as he turned away from them. The memories of what he had been through, the pain, the loneliness, the hunger, the hopelessness all washing over him. Without looking at them, he began. "I should have been able to stop Bane. He came into the manor through the cave entrance, I wasn't in the study at the time. When I came back in, I knew something was wrong, but I was hit with a dart before I saw him."

"A dart? Drugs?" Tim asked.

Bruce nodded. "Very fast acting. I was thrown off my game. Tried to fight Bane and ended up with my leg broken before the drugs rendered me unconscious. Then I ended up in Pena Duro. Unpleasant."

"Yeah, we know unpleasant. We'll swap stories on the flight back to Gotham."


Barbara Gordon entered her living room. The smile on her face was huge. "They're on their way home!" she announced to family and friends, "And they're all alright."

Alfred and Leslie hugged each other, tears falling from their eyes. They had feared this day would never come.

"Were are we meeting 'em?" Roy asked.

"They said the Manor."

"Then I'm dealing with the good detective," Roy said as he headed toward the door.

"Roy!" Dinah yelled as she and Wally started after him. "What are you planning?"

"Nothing. Much. I'll meet you all around the corner. Go on," Roy replied as he winked at Babs. She smiled back at him.

Walking out into the street, Roy stretched and started down the sidewalk as if he was taking a stroll. As he neared Jacobs's' car, he nonchalantly let two bat-razors fly. His aim, as always, was perfect. They punctured the tires exactly as planned. Roy kept walking, whistling as he went by. He remembered Barbara telling him them the razors would dissolve on impact. He had to get some of those.

As he rounded the corner, he saw the Hummer waiting for him. Climbing in the front passenger seat, he said, "Worked like a charm, Babs."

"Thought it would," she said with a grin.

"What?" Jim Gordon asked from the back seat.

"Nothing you want to know about Daddy."


They waited impatiently as Superman landed the Batwing on Wayne Manor's back lawn. Dick and Tim jumped down from the plane's open door and ran toward their family and friends who stood on the verandah. Superman entered the plane and retrieved Bruce, flying him to the others. Alfred could see Bruce was uncomfortable with the traveling arrangements when Superman landed in front of them and gently helped Bruce to stand.

Alfred walked over and embraced Bruce. "It's so very good to see you young sir."

"And you too," Bruce said, his voice cracking slightly.

"But you look a fright, young man. You will have to be thoroughly cleaned."

Leslie moved quickly to Bruce, and gave him a cursory examination. "Clark, please take Bruce down to the medical facility in the cave."

Bruce looked at everyone who was there to greet him. Then his eyes fell on Jim Gordon. Jim was here. And Leslie had just told Superman who she called 'Clark' to take him to the Cave.

Jim saw Bruce staring at him and moved closer to his old friend. "It's good to have you back, partner. The Gotham nights haven't been the same without you." He squeezed his friend's hand reassuringly.

He watched Stephanie and Cassandra pulling Tim between them, watched Barbara's passionate embrace of Dick. Identities were known, but the world hadn't ended. There were a lot of changes that Bruce was going to have to get used to.

Clark started to take Bruce inside when Bruce looked back at Dick, "Remember what I told you boys, go make those phone calls, we have a lot of things to fix."

"Yes sir," Dick and Tim answered as they followed the crowd into the house. After a few well deserved hugs, they waited as everyone else went down into the cave, waited until they were in the study alone. They both anxiously picked up the phone in the opposite end of the room with different outside line. Dick had taken the phone by Bruce's desk and Tim had taken the one by the sofa. They both dialed numbers they now knew by heart. As they waited for the other end to pick up was through, Dick and Tim looked at each other. Dick fidgeted with the antique phone cord just as his line was answered.

"Hey, it's Dick ... yeah ... in Gotham ... we need to meet."


Dick paced around Jon Walters' office as Tim sat on the sofa nervously tapping his fingers on the arm of the sofa. Sitting in a chair, his leg propped on a plush ottoman, Bruce watched the boys' expression of their anxiety. Clark stood looking out the window.

Jon Walters answered the intercom's call, "Yes?"

"Mr. Reynolds and Detective Jacobs are here," the assistant's voice chimed over the intercom.

"Jacobs! What the hell is he doing here?" Dick asked angrily.

"It's his case. I'm sure Peter called him and said we wanted to meet about it. Dick, it will be alright," Walters said. Then pushing the button, he calmly said, "Send them in."

"Dick, sit down," Bruce said. "Clark, could you help me into Jon's lounge area for a moment?"

"I'll get you whatever you -- " Clark started to say as Dick and Tim stared at Bruce.

"Please just help me in there," he replied stoically. Clark moved quickly to Bruce and assisted him into the connected lounge area.

Dick watched as Bruce and Clark disappeared behind the door. Dick turned back toward Tim who shrugged. Their attention turned to the door as they heard a knock on it. They watched Walters cross the room and open the door. Dick stood up and Tim followed suit.

"Peter, thank you for coming. Wilson and I needed to discuss the Grayson/Drake case with you."

"Do you have any information on your client's whereabouts?" Jacobs asked in an accusatory tone as he brushed past Walters into the office. As he turned to his left, he saw Dick and Tim standing there. A scowl formed on his face as he quickly pulled his gun, pointing it at them.

Tim looked to Dick who turned his attention from Jacobs to Tim. Their breathing was rapid.

"There's no need for that, Detective," Wilson Avery stated.

"They're wanted fugitives, convicted killers, there's a need," Jacobs replied. Taking his free hand, he pulled out his handcuffs and tossed them toward Dick, "Catch Grayson."

Dick easily caught the handcuffs. "What am I suppose to do with these?"

"You used to be a cop, you know how to use them, your left wrist to Drake's right. NOW!"

"Detective -- " Walters started.

"Now Grayson."

Dick turned his eyes toward the lounge door, then with a sigh, complied with Jacobs order.

"Peter," Jon Walters said forcefully, "we called you here to talk about this case. Call Jacobs off and sit down. There have been some new developments that you need to know about. Boys, sit down."

"There's nothing to talk about. I'm taking them to Blackgate," Jacobs said.

"I have to agree with the detective, Jon, Wilson. I'm sorry, but I don't know what's to discuss in this case."

"Perhaps I could change your mind Peter," Bruce said as he stepped up in the doorway connecting the lounge with the office. Clark stood behind Bruce and then assisted him to one of the chairs.

Peter Reynolds couldn't believe his eyes. The man was dead. At least, he was suppose to be. Yet, standing here before him was Bruce Wayne. "Bruce ... I ... You ... you're --"

"Alive. Yes."

"Where have you been?"

"I was kidnapped. Some enemies of Wayne Enterprises who wanted to stop our expansion into South America felt that by kidnapping me and faking my death, that they could stop the expansion into that area. It was a ... terrible ordeal. I ... I don't like to discuss it," Bruce said lowering his eyes and looking away.

Dick and Tim faced each other and smiled. Bruce could always be counted on to give a good performance.

"But you can read about it in my exclusive article running in today's afternoon edition of the Daily Planet and the Gotham Gazette," Clark added.

"Peter, since, as you can see, I am very much alive, what do we need to do to clear my son and our friend? How do we get them released?" Bruce asked calmly

"They're not being released!" Jacobs yelled as he advanced toward his prisoners.

Dick's looked to Bruce, confusion on his face, "What's he talking about?"

Walters looked at Jacobs, "I think even you can see that they aren't guilty of murder."

"Murder's the only thing they aren't guilty of," Jacobs started as he looked at the District Attorney. "Peter, you know the things we found out about them. They aren't boy scouts. Grayson's not an innocent victim here. We know about his prior assaults on Wayne, he admitted that he and Drake were committing illegal acts in Bludhaven. We can only imagine what they were! That's enough to hold the contributing to delinquency charge! They forged Drake's father's signature on multiple school documents. A school Drake was sent to because he was a problem child, because he was becoming a delinquent. Who knows what all Grayson was into when he was living in New York, but no one spends thirty million dollars in three years legitimately. And what was Drake planning to do with that gun he had on his campus? That's a felony! I'd bet my paycheck Grayson got him the gun. And let's not forget about the felony escape and FOUR counts of assault on law enforcement officers --"

"I could make it five!" Dick growled as he stood up, dragging Tim up with him, and got into Jacobs's face.

"Richard, sit down!" Bruce ordered. He watched as Dick looked imploringly at him, then watched as Dick and Tim sat back down on the sofa before he continued. "Peter, I'm sure we can work something out. If the officers were injured, I will gladly pay for their medical bills or any compensation you think is reasonable. Perhaps the boys did wrong in what they did, but can't you understand why they acted as they did? Imagine being twenty four years old and being sentenced to death for a crime you KNOW you didn't commit. Or being sixteen years old and told you were going to have to spend the rest of your life in Blackgate prison. How would you feel? I'd wager you'd feel scared, and intimidated, and confused. Was their escape a worse offense against justice than their convictions for a crime that hadn't even occurred?"

"Bruce --"

"Peter, I supported you because I thought we both had the same vision of justice. Don't prove to me that I was wrong."

"Reynolds are you going to let Wayne buy them out of this? They assaulted law enforcement officers!"

Bruce glared at Jacobs, "Haven't Dick and Tim been punished enough?" he said, his voice becoming The Voice. "Peter, you wanted to kill my son! You wanted to kill Tim! He's a sixteen year old boy! They have spent months in jail. They have been punished enough for whatever you and Detective Jacobs pushed them into doing."

Peter Reynolds sat thoughtfully. He listened to Bruce's impassioned plea. He though of his duty as a prosecutor. It wasn't to gain convictions, it was to seek justice. Grayson and Drake were guilty of escape and assault. But would pursuing that, given everything, be pursuing justice? He turned and looked at Dick and Tim, sitting handcuffed on the sofa. Saw the anxiety on their young faces. Then he turned toward the boy's attorneys. "Jon, see if you can find Judge Vargas, I'll join you in a motion to set aside the jury's verdict."

"And the new charges?" Wilson asked.

"I'll dismiss them."

"You can't do that!" Jacobs yelled as he moved toward Reynolds. "You're letting Wayne buy then out of this!"

"Detective, release them from the handcuffs," Reynolds ordered.

"Not until the judge orders me too. Technically, they're still custody."

"What is your problem?" Dick asked angrily. "It's not like we're NOT going to go to court. We want to go. Why are treating us like this? Tim and I have never done anything to you."

"You're both spoiled rich brats. Your fathers buy you out of whatever you do. Well, not this time --"

"Do! We hadn't done anything until you went tunnel vision on us. You decided Bruce was murdered and we did it. And you didn't look for any other option. If you had done your job, my father may not have been held prisoner as long as he was. I'm just a 'rookie' but I did a better job than you did, 'Detective'," Dick snarled.

Jim Gordon had walked over and placed a hand on Dick's shoulders. "Now, Dick, you and I are both cops, just like Jacobs. We know he's technically right about you being in custody. He just likes to do everything 'by the book'. I'm sure that the new commissioner will be happy to hear about that when I meet with him this afternoon."

Jacobs glared at them as he snatched Dick and Tim's wrists and removed the handcuffs. "Do whatever you want to," he said as he stormed out of the office.

"Does this mean I can go home now?" Tim asked. "I just want to go home now."

"I don't see a need for anyone but the attorneys to go to Court," Reynolds said.

"Then Dick and I will take Tim home. I know he wants to tell his father the good news himself. Clark, please go to Wayne Enterprises and get things ready for my press conference."


Tentatively, Tim walked into the dining room of his home. He felt like a stranger. It had been so long since he had been here. As he stood in the doorway, he saw his father and Dana sitting at the table. They hadn't seen him. His father looked older than he remembered. Quietly, he called out, "Dad."

Jack Drake turned toward the door. His eyes grew wide as he saw his son, the son he had thought he would never see again. Jack rose from the table and quickly crossed the room, pulling Tim into a tight hug. "Oh my God! Are you really here?" he asked. Lifting the boys face so he could look him in the eyes, he continued, "Are you all right?"

"Yeah Dad, I am," Tim replied with a smile.

Jack reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet. "The police have been watching the house. Here's five hundred dollars, Tim. Take the car and go Tim. Go to California or Canada, just --"

"But Dad -- "

"Tim, please. You have to leave! Before they find you here."

"No Dad! No, I don't. It's over. The charges against Dick and me have been dropped. It's all over."

"What?" Jack asked incredulously. Then he saw Dick Grayson standing in the doorway, Bruce Wayne at his side. "Wayne?"

"Hello Jack," Bruce said as he leaned against his crutches.

"You're alive! How?"

"It's a long story, Jack. I was kidnapped. But Tim's right. It's all over now. We just left a meeting with the attorneys and District Attorney. The charges have been dismissed and the convictions purged."

Jack pulled his son into a tight hug as tears fell from his eyes. Dana moved over to her husband and stepson, joining them in their embrace.

Bruce placed his hand on Dick's shoulders as they watched the scene before them. Dick smiled at Bruce, who smiled back at him.

"Tim, you're really all right?" Jack asked, stunned at the new revelation.

"Yes Dad," Tim replied, as his eyes glistened with moisture.

Jack turned toward the pair standing in the doorway. He walked over to them. "I'm glad you're fine Bruce. I'm glad everything has worked out, for all of us. But I'd like to ask you and your son to leave now. I don't want you coming back." Then turning to look directly at Dick, he continued, "And I don't want you to EVER come around my son again. Do you understand me?"

Bruce shifted so he was between Jack and Dick. He saw Tim's mouth drop at the scene unfolding before him. "Jack, I think we can talk about this. Tim is very important to both Dick and I."

"As I found out, during my son's trial. You people have forged my name on school documents. You take my son to God only knows where doing God only knows what. I still have not had a satisfactory explanation for why your twenty four year old son is hanging out with Tim. He's only sixteen years old. And you," Jack said pointing at Dick as his voice raised, "you talked my son into escaping. He could have been killed!"

"Dad," Tim interjected. "Stop! Stop this now!" Dana placed comforting hands on the boy's now tightened shoulders.

"Go to your room Tim."

"No, I'm not going anywhere. Dad, you don't understand. You don't understand Dick and my relationship. He's the only bother I have. I'm not letting you take him away from me."

"He admitted on the stand that he had you into something illegal that night in Bludhaven. I haven't asked what. Didn't want to know what. Can you tell me now? Will you tell me?"

Tim looked from his father to Dick and then Bruce. Damn their secrets. He didn't know what to do. He saw a look pass between Dick and Bruce. One he didn't understand. Quietly Bruce said to him, "If you want, you can tell him."

"What?" Tim asked disbelieving.

"I think it's time," Bruce replied.

Jack faced Tim and waited as Tim looked at Bruce. "Are you sure?"

"It's your decision. I won't make that mistake again. But if you want to, if you feel you need to, then let's discuss it while we're all present."

Tim took a deep breath. "Dad, what Dick and I were doing was, technically, illegal. But it wasn't bad, it was good. We were protecting people, helping people. We do that a lot. Bruce, Dick and me. That's why I leave like I do, the things you haven't understood. I know you think I've been into a lot of delinquent stuff, but that's because I haven't been able to tell you, to share with you. But I can now. I can tell you who I am."

"Who you are? Tim, I don't --"

"I'm Robin," Tim said resolved.

"Robin who, honey?" Dana asked.

"Robin. The Robin. As in 'Batman and --', that Robin."

"Tim!" Jack said exasperated at his son's games.

"It's true Jack. Tim is Robin. He has been for years now. He's my partner," Bruce said.

"Partner?" Jack asked incredulously.

Dick slightly moved forward and proclaimed, "He's Batman, I'm Nightwing."

Jack studied them, the three of them, their faces. "You're telling me the truth. Oh my God! And you think this makes this better. This is worse than I ever imagined!" Dick moved to Tim as Jack faced off against Bruce. "How dare you endanger my son's life. If it wasn't irresponsible enough for you to do it with your own son, you're now doing it with mine. Are you insane?"

"No, Jack. Perhaps I didn't have the right to use Tim. But he wanted this, needed this -- "

"Tim is a child. Bruce, children often want things that aren't always good for them. It doesn't mean you give in to their whims. As an 'adult', you do what's best for them. Is that how Jason really died? As Robin? It's obvious that you know nothing of being a parent."

"And you do?" Tim screamed as Dick placed his hands on Tim, trying to calm him. "You and Mom used to leave me all the time. Couldn't be bothered with me. I figured out the secret of Batman and Robin. I tracked Dick down in New York. I convinced them I could be Robin. Me! I did all that! You weren't even around to know I wasn't here.

"I'm Robin because I'm good at what I do. Bruce and Dick have given me the best training imaginable. And ... I make a difference. Bruce didn't have the right to 'drag me into this' anymore than you have the right to stop me or keep me from it. This is my life. I choose how I live it! I love you Dad, but Bruce and Dick are my family too. Bruce has been there when I needed, but didn't have a father. And I can't even begin to say what Dick means to me.

"I love you for wanting to be closer to me now. But, you've got to accept me as who I am now, not who I was years ago. I AM ROBIN! No one's changing that."

Jack and Dana had watched Tim as he had released all his pent up emotions. Coldly, Jack replied, "I can call the police. Tell them about all of you."

"Yes you could, Mr. Drake," Dick added calmly. "Immediately after you make that call, the police would be dispatched here. Thirty minutes later, Bruce, Tim and I are arrested. Then Tim would be right back in jail, and I don't think you want that. In fact, I know you don't. Jail's not the only thing to worry about too, if our secret becomes common knowledge. We've got enemies. A lot of enemies. They'd be looking to get even with us, and with our loved ones. Mr. Drake, I know how much you care about your son. I've seen it. But you have to trust him. We know what we're doing. Tim knows what he's doing."

"He's right, darling," Dana added. "Trust Tim. He's telling you this because he trusts you. You have to trust him back."

"I don't have to like this."

"No, but you have to accept it," she added as she took his hand in hers. "He's a hero Jack. I think it's something to be proud of."

"I just don't want him hurt," Jack said resigned.

"Dad, I know that," Tim said as walked over to his father, embracing him.

"We ... we need to get you back in school," Jack said weakly.

"I'm not going back to school. Not this year. Not Brentwood."

"Well, Gotham Heights then. I see Brentwood's not really needed -- "

"NO! I'm not going back to school this year. Alfred can home school me, but I'm not going. I'm not listening to people whisper about me. Not right now."

"Well ... we'll discuss it later, okay. But no Brentwood. We're in agreement on that," Jack said without reservation as he pulled Tim into a tight hug. "We'll work everything out Tim, together."

Tim smiled as he held onto his father. It felt good to finally be home.


"What press conference?" Lucius asked as he marched into what had been Bruce Wayne's office. He saw Clark Kent hanging up the phone. "Kent, what are you doing here?"

"Getting ready for the press conference."

"Who's giving a press conference?"

"I am," Bruce said as he walked into the office, leaning on his crutches.

Lucius' eyes grew wide with astonishment. "Bruce. I don't believe it. You're ..."

"Yes, I am. Clark, I'd like to speak to Lucius alone for a moment, please," Bruce said. Clark walked out of the office leaving the two men alone. "I'm having the conference to announce I'm back. Announce Dick and Tim have been cleared of all charges." Bruce moved to his desk and sat in his chair, putting his leg up on the ottoman.

"I'm shocked. I can't believe this. This is wonderful Bruce. Where have you been? What happened? I have a million questions."

"I'm sure you do, but I want to talk to you about something else. About Dick."

"I suppose Dick told you about my testimony," Lucius stated.

"Yes he did," Bruce said reticently.

"I ... I'm very happy to see you alive Bruce. You have no idea how much it hurt, thinking you were dead. But I can understand, we're talking about your son. I'll leave you some recommendations for my successor."

"Your suc -- no Lucius. I don't want you to resign. I've apologized to Dick, and now I have to apologize to you. Everything you said. Everything you thought. It was my fault. I didn't realize how what I did say, and what I didn't say, made Dick seem to you. I made many mistakes. The way I mishandled the relationship allowed the prosecution to use things against Dick that were never his fault. That's another reason for the press conference. To try and repair his reputation. I have to explain the money he spent in New York helping the Titans. To explain things he couldn't or wouldn't explain out of deference to me."

"Thank you Bruce. But, don't blame yourself. I honestly thought the things I said. Perhaps I had legitimate concerns about what I saw in Dick's behavior, but I should have come to you about it rather than jumping to conclusions. Conclusions that could have gotten your son killed. I can only imagine how Dick feels. How he must have felt hearing me testify against him, and ... and what I said at the 'funeral'. I have to apologize to him Bruce, but I wouldn't blame him if he never spoke to me again."

"He's hurt, Lucius. I won't deny that. It will take time."


Amy Rorhbach sat at her desk treading through reports she had to file before her shift ended. She was so deep in thought that she didn't hear his approach until a bouquet of flowers were lain on her reports. Startled, she looked up in to the blue eyes of her former partner, Dick Grayson.

"Rookie, what are you doing here? Are you crazy?"

"Been too overworked to watch the news today?" Dick asked with a wide grin. He pointed behind him to the TV that was showing Bruce's press conference.

"Isn't that --"

"Yep. He's alive and I'm cleared." She leapt up and hugged him. "Woah, Sarge, what's your hubby gonna think?"

"Grayson, I knew you were innocent."

"Yeah, I know. You were one of the few. Thanks. That's why you get flowers."

"What's your girlfriend gonna think?" she replied with a wink. "Although I should slug you."

"For what?"

"Not calling me to help you out. I'm your partner. That's what partners do, Rookie. Not sometimes, not occasionally. Being partners is a twenty-four seven deal. Understand?"

"Yes ma'am," Dick said giving a mock salute. "You helped me out when Tim and I really needed you too. If not for you, I'd be on death row right now."

"Don't remind me. That was just sheer luck. Had you called, perhaps none of that would've happened. I know one thing, you are never going to be any good in the undercover department."

"Well, I'll remember that in the future. Right now, I have to go speak with Mason Arnot."

"Arnot's a jackass," Amy said reserved.

"Yeah, but he's the jackass who decides if I get to be your rookie again," Dick said as he sat on the edge of the desk.

"No he isn't, Addad's --"

"With me Amy, it's Arnot, whether I like it or not."

Amy looked at him as she sat back down in her chair, "I'm not sure why you want to come back to this hellhole, but whether you do or not, you'll always be my rookie. But listen, don't give Arnot anything. If you do, he'll never let you alone. No matter what he dangles or wants you to say - don't do it. Just... just be careful and remember, I've got your back."

"Thanks, Sarge, I'll be careful. And if Arnot gives me problems, he'll be talking to my dad. Believe me -- no one wants to be on my dad's bad side."

"Seriously, even if you win this round, don't turn your back to Arnot, he's a sneaky little worm. He'll be watching you and waiting for an opportunity. And I don't want to get my Rookie back in a baggie."

"Well, I certainly don't want to come back in a baggie and I think the lions have had enough fun with me lately. Guess, I'd better suck it up and go in, I see Arnot by his door."

"Good luck and call me and let me know what happens."

"You'll be the first to know partner," Dick said with a smile as he headed toward Arnot's office.

"Sport, I didn't think I'd be seeing you here. Heard about your good fortune on the tube."

"Thanks Mac, can I see you?"

"Sure, come on in." Arnot said with a wily smile. "What can I do for you, Dick?"

"I want my job back."

"No can do, Sport. You knew the rules. Get arrested during your probationary period and you're outta here."

"The convictions have been overturned. Purged."

"Doesn't matter, Grayson. Even IF we let you slide on that, look at how long it's been since you came to work. And you haven't even called in."

Dick felt his anger fuming, "I was in JAIL. I couldn't exactly call. Listen Mason, I'm gonna tell you something and I'm gonna say it once. I want my job back. And if I don't get my job back, my father is going to come down on you AND the city of Bludhaven. Hard. Bruce Wayne'll drop a lawsuit on this department and he'll do it in Gotham where the judges are his, not yours. You want to use an arrest for a crime that never happened against me, the press'll have a field day with the BPD's inspector's criminal record. Believe me, a lot of publicity is NOT a good thing."

"Well, if you put it that way, Sport. Welcome back."

"Thanks. Oh, I know, you're watching me. Fine."


Nightwing and Robin knocked on Barbara Gordon's patio door. Barbara hit a button opening the doors automatically. "Babs," Nightwing called out as they moved towards Oracle's control room.

"In here," she called. As they walked in they could see Bruce on the view screen. "He's already trying to get my job," she said pointing at him.

"Bruce, play nice and share the work with Babs," Nightwing said with a grin as he leaned over and kissed Barbara on the lips. "Babe, don't worry. Leslie said he'd be outta commission for a year with that leg. But I know him, I'm taking bets but my money's on four months."

"Smart alec," Bruce grumbled over the comm link.

"Got us some work to do Babs? I'm so ready to get back out there," Robin said with a smile.

"Let me check a few things," she said as started clicking keys on her computer. Her eyebrow arched when something unexpected caught her eye. "Short Pants, you want to tell me why there's a REAL warrant for Robbie Malone's arrest in the system?"

"A WHAT?" Nightwing said as he and Robin looked over Barbara's shoulder.

"For failing to appear in court for a window tint violation?" she continued reading from the screen.

"Aw damn," Dick said, rubbing his hand through his hair, as Tim started laughing at him, "I forgot all about that."

"I'll have it taken care of," Bruce said reassuringly. "Looks like there's a break-in on Moenech, head out."

"You got it boss," Robin said as he and Nightwing went to Bab's patio and shot their jump lines out into the night.

Barbara smiled as she heard their joyful shouts flying over their city once more.

FINIS .... for now


If you want more on Tim and his Dad's reaction -- make you you check out part 3 of "A Different Game:The Sidelines" on the YJ section of fanfic.net