Standard disclaimers apply.

The Gift of Life

**

In the ill-lit enclave created by the oversized bodies of buildings in the dark, cold city, Batgirl reached back, then punched the goon as hard as she could. Her blue-gloved hand connected with his forehead, right between the eyes. The thick, denim clad body of the bully who'd been trying to take some young woman's purse went staggering backwards, slammed into the brick façade of the building at the dead-end of the alley. His head made a heavy thud as it bounced off the chipping paint, and he slumped to the ground.

There was nothing she hated more than a bully.

Two incredibly white headlights turned into the alley, shining on the frightened face who's eyes intermittently looked from Batgirl's waist, to the nearly silent car behind her.

She didn't have to turn around to know who it was. Pushing her yellow-lined black cape over her shoulder, she slumped a little. WHAT had she done wrong now? It had to be something. Batman didn't want her around, but he only gave her a hard time when she screwed up. Damned boy's-only club.

Not wanting to give the Dark Knight the satisfaction of her fear, she settled for annoyance instead. Hotly, she tied up the baddie, leaving him cowering on the ground, then, leisurely turned around. She could stand here all night, playing games with the Bat. She may have idolized him in her youth, but he was just another stuck-up guy. At least Robin could have some fun. And OH, the fun she and Robin had, when Batman wasn't bossing them around.

Looking at the tank-like vehicle, she wondered if it was possible for a shadow to take on physical and substantial form. The door of the passenger's side opened. No one got out.

Loosing her resolve to give the Dark Knight the cold shoulder, she rushed to the door and jumped inside, fearing for a certain junior-partner's safety.

Turning to the figure in the driver's seat, she saw said junior partner grinning at her. "SURPRIZE!" Robin hollered loudly, closing her door with the flip of a switch.

"Batman's dead, isn't he?" she deadpanned.

Backing out of the alley, Robin chuckled, then sped off into the city lights.

* * *

A long, black shadow of a car sat parked at the bend in the river, right before the Tricorner Bridge. The roof was opened; presumably the occupants of the vehicle were gazing at the stars, or the lights upon the river. Perhaps things had started out that way. Now, though, there seemed to be other goings-on in the car.

Robin couldn't find his cape. He was sure it was in the car somewhere. How could you loose a bright canary colored cape in a big black car? And he needed it. He needed it to cover up all the hickies on his neck.

Finally, Batgirl wrapped her arm around his neck, and pulled him closer for another kiss. "We'll get out and look for it in a little bit. But I think it's time to give you a birthday present," she said huskily.

Robin's eyes grew wide. How did SHE know it was his birthday?

Batgirl climbed into the driver's seat, straddling her boy-wonder. Behind her cowl, there was a light in her jade eyes, and a smile on her blushed, swollen lips. "Richard John Grayson, only son of Mary and John, Born March 20th, nineteen seventy--"

He clasped his lips over hers, cutting off the recitation of Robin's stats. Batman was going to kill him. As his tongue inspected the inside of her mouth with vigor, he wondered what details he'd given about himself, during their previous make-out sessions that had lead to her finding out more about him than Batman would prefer.

Her hips pressed and grinded against his, and he knew EXACTLY what type of birthday present she had in mind. Feeling his blood ignite with liquid fire, all thoughts about who should or shouldn't know what were vanquished from his mind.

Robin's fingers crept up beneath her mask, prepared to pull it back, but he felt something. Eyes upon him.

Robin was going to DIE for his birthday.

Suddenly his lips tore away from hers, and he clenched his eyes shut. "I can explain," he told the darkness with a quivering voice.

Would it matter to Bruce that Dick had been angry that he'd dashed off on some Justice League mission without even giving the young man a birthday hello, much less sticking around for cake, or giving a gift? Would it matter that he'd just turned SIXTEEN, and he had the coolest car at his disposal, and the most awesomest woman at his side (or straddling his waste, as the case may be)?

No. He was forbidden to take The Car, and forbidden to 'fraternize' with Batgirl, and he'd just done both.

"I think it's cute," a female voice said, stepping out of the darkest of the shadows.

Batgirl pushed her back against the wheel, but fortunately the horn did not go off. That happening would have just made the situation even more of a farce than it already was.

"I think it's disgusting," a gruff voice followed. Harvey Bullock. "It's gonna make me puke. I think we should shoot 'em both an' put 'em outta MY misery."

Robin could feel his face turning red. It was so hot around his cheeks and ears, he thought his head was going to explode. "EXCUSE YOU!" Robin chirped nervously.

"YEAH!" Batgirl said, glaring out the top of the car at Montoya and Bullock.

"WHAAAT?" Bullock moaned, munching on the end of his yet to be lit cigar. "Geeze. You kids think you're the only people ever busted down by the river." And he sounded like he was talking from personal experience

Robin shivered. He had this gross vision in his head of a young Harvey Bullock getting caught down here. He shivered again at the thought of some chick digging Harvey enough to go parking with him. So much for his perfect night.

Batgirl slinked off of him and tried to disappear into the passenger's side seat. She made a conscious effort to avoid eye contact with Renee Montoya.

"Hey," Bullock said defensively, lighting a match. He sucked on his cigar and puffed a bit, getting it started. "WE were down here WORKING, unlike YOU jokers. In case your freaky little asses haven't noticed, there's a dead body found about two hours ago, on the bridge. I saw the car when we was up there, and I figured your mentor'd be here, knowing something."

Robin smacked his forehead. "Batman's doing Justice League stuff." Way to hold down the fort, Boy-Loser. You don't even know what's going on in YOUR city. "We'll… uh… see what we can find out, and get back to you?" he asked hopefully.

* * *

Robin, sans cape, and a disheveled Batgirl came in through the fire stairwell at the back of the apartment building. "You're SURE this is the right address," Robin whispered as a cockroach scuttled past them and beneath the fire door.

"Look, I know how to look things up. This is where the dead lady's brother lives. Fourth floor. OK?" Batgirl wasn't sure if Robin wanted her to be long because he didn't' want to be in this run-down, musty-smelling stairwell.

"Ugg… and I had to go saying it was the brother, didn't I?" But he was pretty darn sure it was the brother, given the other evidence. Still… couldn't the brother of a rich lady live in a place that wasn't… gross?

"Whatever," she said, grabbing hold of the railing, pulled herself past him. Ascending the stairs, she wagged her hips seductively, letting her cape wag behind her.

Suddenly, Robin changed his mind. He hoped it WAS the brother. Then they could nab him, hand him over to Peeping Bullock, then go back to the car and get busy.

He'd thought this birthday was going to suck. Birthdays with Bruce often did. It wasn't because Bruce was a bad person or anything, it was because he failed to understand basic concepts like 'fun' or anything like that.

So far, it had been pretty good, despite the part where he'd let the city go to hell. Geeze, he wanted Batgirl. He wanted to take her up to their little clubhouse up at the old clock tower, tear all of her clothes off, and…

His chest slammed into her back as she stopped at the sixth floor door. "ROBIN!" She whispered harshly. He fell down one step, and waited for her to pick the lock. He was quicker, but he could totally give her a moment of glory. Especially since he REALLLLLLY wanted the birthday present she had for him.

Entering the apartment, they knew something was up. The place was messy—much messier than Alfred would ever let him keep HIS room—but drawers were opened and things hastily pulled. Yup, it was the brother. He was trying to flee.

They heard the sound of the bathroom door being opened, and he rushed in, while Batgirl went downward, to try and prevent the man's getting away.

"Hey hey hey!" Robin called out as he grabbed the guy around the waist. He had stood on the toilet, and was half in the bathroom, and half-outside. "You ruined my date!" Grabbing the man's belt, he hauled him back in the window.

"What do you want from me?" the beady-eyed man said as Robin thrust him into a sitting position.

"Oh please," the young man groaned. Batgirl appeared in the opened window above the toilet. "Get this, Batgirl… He is asking what we want from him."

Ducking her head in the window, she looked down at their captive. "Yeah, that's pretty pathetic," she agreed.

Robin leaned towards the scruffy man. "So… I'll give ya like ten second to think up a good excuse, before I punch your lights out and hand you over to a fat, greasy cop who eats too many gyros." He looked at the non-existent watch on his wrist, pretending to count.

"I didn't do anything! It coulda been anyone killed her."

Robin and Batgirl looked at each other. "Ok, THAT was just pathetic," Robin informed him. They hadn't told him WHY they were there. This guy was SO busted.

* * *

Through the opaque glass-face of the clock tower, the golden light of dawn poured through, warming the two sleeping bodies, among the old tarps and unused crates. This was the first day of the rest of Dick's life, he realized with satisfaction as he stirred.

Kissing the red-headed beauty in his arms, he marveled at how angelic she looked in the glow of dawn. He enjoyed the peace and simplicity of the moment.

Clothes lay strewn beside them, and amongst the pile of armor and leather, a small chirping began. Quick to not want to wake his lover, he reached over her and grabbed hold of his belt, removing his Titans communicator.

"Yeah?" Dick whispered.

"Ohgeezeyou'reok," Wally began at super-speed.

"Can I call you back?" Holy ruining the moment, Dick thought.

"NO," Wally said in a low tone. "Look, Batman's popping a gasket. He called here looking for you." Good, that meant Batman didn't know about the whole making out in The Car with Babs thing.

Beside him, Barbara stirred. Her long, smooth body stretched and she wrapped an arm around his neck. "I'm on my way home. I got a little hung up with some stuff…"

"Dude, I can't believe you stole the car. That's like… way irresponsible. Harper thinks its cool, but The Bat's seriously busted a gasket. He even busted his gasket at Barry, which means that like every blood vessel in his head has burst, because the Bat talks to no-one."

"Oh Geeze," Robin muttered, then kissed Barbara's cheek. "The Bat's about ready to eat me."

Sadly, she ran a hand through his hair. She'd be nineteen in a few weeks, and this liaison would be difficult to continue. "I know. I'll catch up with you," she promised.

Dick looked from the communicator to Barbara, as she reached for her costume. "I… why don't you stay?" he asked.

"NOOO," Wally moaned, overhearing the conversation. "Dick, you can't, man!"

"I'm already in the dog house," he pointed out. He might as well continue the dream-come-true for a bit longer.

"Dude, he said if you come home right now, he might let you live," Wally explained.

Pulling her cape around her, Barbara's lips met his. "That'd be the closest thing to a birthday present he ever gave you," she pointed out wryly.

Dick moaned. "Ok, ok guys, I get it." He knew he was the deadest sidekick in the entire universe… and Bruce didn't even know about the whole loosing his virginity to the commissioner's daughter in the clock tower thing. A grin found it's way onto his face. At least he wouldn't die a virgin.

Batman giveth, and he taketh away. "And they say only biological parents can give you the gift of life."

THE END