A/N They didn't really explain this on the show, so I decided to make up a sort of backstory as to how we went from Dick as Robin to Tim as Robin and Dick as Nightwing. It's more of a... (character study?) than a story. I'm not really sure what this is. I mixed together canon from other shows and comics, and made stuff up. This type of thing is new to me, so I'm curious to see what you think. Written for the Christmas Movie Quotes challenge by Ashtree101. Not all that Christmasy, but I hope you like it.
"Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?"
-Clarence the angel from 'It's a Wonderful Life'
Batman let out a small groan as he sat at the Bat-computer. There were two different bank-robberies happening simultaneously. A week ago, this wouldn't have been a problem: he would have just sent Robin to one, and he would have handled the other. Unfortunately for Batman, this wasn't the previous week. He and Dick had had another argument - these had been becoming more frequent - and this time the teen had left for good. He had given back the Robin costume, and had disappeared. Batman was now fighting crime alone.
He would only admit it to a select few, but he had grown almost dependent on the Boy Wonder to help him fight Gotham's villains, and had sorely missed the help when Robin was occupied with the Team. The more time Dick spent with the Team, the less time he was available to help Batman, so Bruce had changed his habits, fighting small crimes alone, and calling in Dick's help for the big ones. This way, he still got to spend crime-fighting time with his ward, and allow the boy time to hang out with his friends. It seemed like the perfect scenario- until Dick left.
This, he would never admit to anyone: he missed having a Robin. No, that wasn't entirely accurate, he missed Dick. It wasn't just how useful having another body was while crime fighting, or how he made the Batman image more accessible to the public. He missed having the boy's wisecracks and cackling laughter. He missed the brightness Dick brought into his otherwise dark life. He just plain missed seeing Dick.
A few months later, he had had enough. He couldn't deal with all of Gotham's crime alone. He needed a new Robin if he was going to continue to be Batman without calling in outside help. As much as he missed Dick, it was clear the boy wasn't coming back. He needed someone new. He found a boy named Jason and recruited him to the job.
He knew it was a bad idea to pick a replacement Robin. It would undoubtedly alienate Dick, and prevent him from ever reconciling with Bruce. It was, however, an excellent decision to alleviate the pressure on him to be everywhere at once as Batman. He got more sleep, and he saved a boy from becoming a criminal.
While this was good for Batman, Bruce still missed having Dick's constant chatter and wordplay. Jason had a very different personality than Dick did, preferring to stay quiet and train. Although it irritated him in the past, Bruce missed the playful banter he and Dick had had. He and Jason just didn't have that kind of relationship.
Nevertheless, Bruce grew to care for Jason. They worked together well, and when Joker killed Jason, Bruce took his death hard. He began to alienate himself from his friends, and pushed himself past his limits. In his mind, it was better to exhaust himself than to subject another boy to Jason's fate.
One good thing that came from Jason's death was Bruce and Dick's reconciliation. When Nightwing saw how unstable Batman had become, he collaborated with Tim Drake and helped create Robin III.
Bruce was both glad to have a new partner, and to have his relationship with Dick back. He stopped beating himself up over Jason's death, and enjoyed the company of Tim. He was a little worried when Tim wanted to join Dick's old Team, but so far it seemed to be going well.
When Nightwing became leader of the Team, Bruce knew Tim was in good hands for the time he was away. All of the skills Dick had possessed as Robin had stayed him as he grew older, but with added maturity. Bruce felt safe enough to bring his latest Bat-recruit out of the shadows and onto the Team.
On the night after the new Team's latest mission, Bruce lay in bed thinking. Before Dick came into his life, he would never have considered having anyone help him. He would have driven himself to the breaking point trying to fight all the crime alone. Looking back, it was the most important decision of his superhero career. Now, Batman was part of a huge team and had not one, but two protégés.
It was ridiculous how much one little boy eleven years ago had changed Bruce's live so much. He didn't regret the decision to take Dick under his wing in the slightest.
A/N So... Yeah... I'll have some actual stories out sometime soon. Hope you liked it!