Part One: Our Crying City
[[[Note: This takes place in the pre-New52 universe, many years after the end of that continuity. And is set in a different universe than my previous work, Broken Wings.]]]
He looked over the skyline of his city from the topfloor of the new Grayson Tower. It had changed so much over the years. When he arrived at twelve all those years ago he looked up and could barely see the tops of Gotham's tallest. Soon he would fly between them with a man he still greatly misses.
The elevator doors behind him open up and Dick Grayson turned to meet his date for the evening. Her rubber wheels sailed silently across the floor. Her white hair still had flecks of red and her face was as beautiful as ever. Dick regrets not being able to marry her. Too many things happened, and the world they knew changed too quickly.
"Dick." She says softly, missing his touch as much as he misses her, but tonight they are not here as lovers. Nor friends, but old war buddies, heroes of another era.
"Barbara, it's good to see you." Dick uses his free hand to show her the table set with candles and dinner beside the edge of the tower. He limps over, supporting himself on his cane as he approaches the table and takes a seat. Commissioner Barbara Gordon wheels herself into place.
They eat and laugh before the nostalgia hits. "Remember the old Nightwing costume?"
"The high collar?" She laughed. "That was great."
"I saw a picture the other day, guess it was right after Trigon attacked New York the second time. I looked ridiculous."
They laughed for hours, trading stories and living in their past for one evening. Sharing tales of love and of violence, and how often the two mixed. Of old partners and friends, of brothers and sisters. And fathers.
"When he was lost in time, when almost everyone was certain he was dead, when I was certain he was dead, there was a part of me that didn't believe it. A piece that that said Bruce can't die. But when he did, I mean, I still can't believe it and its been over a decade."
With this story their night is cut short by a call to Barbara's phone. She checks the caller and anwsers it. "I told you not to bother me tonight." He face goes from angry to aghast as he jaw drops and her old eyes widen. "You're sure he's dead?" She asks the other side of the line and Dick looks worried. She nods "Okay, I'll be there in Fifteen." She puts her phone down and looks across the small table to the man formerly known as Nightwing. "Damian is dead."
The city was wet, crying as it did on nights like these. Damian had been Batman for almost ten years, all ten of them after the fall on Batman Inc. He wasn't afraid to kill if he had to, but he tried to avoid it. With his reign in the cowl the city got meaner, more hungry as a generation of psychopaths came to age. The gangs are powerful, whole neighborhoods are at war with each other. New men in old masks who only want fame. They don't even care about the money, or the blood. They all want to be the next Joker.
Damian was unmasked on the sidewalk. The Great Batman, the son of the Prince of Gotham, Bruce Wayne. His suit was more heavily armored, his cowl became a mask that covered his mouth. His symbol was red and his belt gray.
Dick hadn't seen him for seven years, they came to odds overthe way Damian carried the legacy. He refused to help when the Lane Act was passed outlawing non-military masks. The JLA was decimated after the War of the New Gods, and was too weak to fight back, the major faces left them and those who cared about secret identities were outnumbered and hunted down. Damian stayed away, Gotham, he said, was his city what happened outside its borders didn't matter.
He never took a robin, and our network was gone leaving him without an heir for the mantel. There are only two candidates, but neither has the training it will take.
Dick oversees his body to the morgue personally. He sets security to protect it and has his public relations team work to control the spin. Then he retires to his office. Before long he is joined by Barbara. "You're worrying about the legacy, aren't you?" She asks
"Shouldn't I be?" Dick sounds exhausted.
"Who are you think? Helena's son or A-"
"Dominic isn't old enough. And... I don't know about Andy, I don't really know him at all." Dick put his head in his hands.
"He's your son, Dick, he should be the next Batman."