New Wings

Part Two: Bloodlines

Bette Kane. Long time unofficial member of the batfamily. She is a year young than Dick Grayson, but at 57 she could pass for fourty. She retired after her aunt died and coached tennis at Gotham State, she's in fantastic shape, and her son is poised to be the first Graduating Senior at the school to have a championship in every sport available, from football and basketball to tennis and gymnastics. All while maintaining a 3.8 GPA. Andrew Kane was a star.

After a one night stand on a rooftop down town Bette was pregnant and nine months later little Andy was born. Bette and Dick tried to make it work but Bette wasn't happy. They didn't love each other and though Dick wanted to raise his son, Bette moved from Gotham, only returning to follow her son to his university. With the Kane name Bette quickly got a position as assistant coach before rising to head her team only a year later.

After unanswered phone calls and birthday cards Dick stopped trying. When his son returned he approached Bette, she told him to stay out of his life. She thought he was aiding Damian, and refused to sacrifice her son's safety.

This is why Dick Grayson stands at the gate of the large Kane Mansion, left to her nearly a decade ago, but unused for all that time. He rings the bell and the intercom buzzes to life, it is an old model, not yet upgraded in the ongoing renovations. Dick saw three cameras when he approached, so he knows she can see him.

"Go away Dick."

"Can't we talk?"

"I saw the news."

"Then you know how much it's hurting me." he says back but receives only silence in response. "Please Bette." After a moment standing in the rain she is buzzed in. His head low as he limps in side he carries the weight of his legacy, and Bruce's on his shoulders. He carries the cities's hopes and dreams, its tragedies and curses.

At the door he is greeted by a his former lover in a long black dress, her golden hair down on her shoulders. "Dick."

"Thank you Bette."

"Come in." Bette gives him entrance and together they walk to her entertaining room. Dick hadn't been to the estates in years, holed up in his penthouse he became reclusive. The grandeur of it all brought him back to his adolescence, of his teenage years at Wayne Manor. "I'm sorry for your loss, I know how close you two were."

"Thank you, but we hadn't talked in a while. I didn't like the Batman he became, and with him gone now the cowl is empty. I can't fill it. But someone needs to, Gotham has erupted into a war zone, they know Batman is dead."

"No." She says preemptively.

"Dominic is too young, and he's the only other choice. He's sixteen, Andrew is twenty-three, working on his third degree with a trophy room the size of a small apartment."

"No, Dick. I've lost too many to masks and capes."

"Bette, Gotham needs a Batman, at least let me ask him."

She stands defiant, arms crossed in front of her, she scowls, curling her lips downward. When they were young Bette was obsessed, she was lonely and she wanted someone to love her. She loved Dick before they even met, when he still wore the pixie boots. He didn't understand it. Dick had friends in the titans and respect in hero circles by the time he was fifteen. He didn't understand why a girl he didn't know would claim such a thing. Many years later they had a brief moment of passion during the Leviathan Crisis. Andrew resulted. "I can't stop you."

"If you don't want me to, I won't." Dick Grayson lived honorably. "I know Dominic would leap at the chance."

"He's living just off the campus." Bette shakes her head and turns to start walking away.

"I know."

A tear rolls down Bette's face, drawing a line of mascara to her chin. "Don't let him die."