Take From the Rich by Layton Colt

Author's Notes: I have written this story based on Nightwing fanfiction. I have never actually read any of the comics. So it might not follow right along with cannon. I probably shouldn't have tried to write a story for something I haven't read but the Nightwing fanfiction is so great I got hooked and wanted to try it out for myself.

A pair of black high heeled boots sauntered lazily across the blue and white tiled floor of the Gotham Bank.

Green eyes peered out from a sleek gray mask and watched the security guards warily as they attempted to free themselves from the ropes that bound them.

The woman looked back to the gray belt that was slung low around her tiny waist, and a slow smile spread across her face. Attached to it were three black bags filled with gold and jewels taken from the vault.

"Sorry about the inconvenience, boys," the musical voice said sweetly as the newest member of the Gotham crime family began to back up towards the exit.

She was wearing a cloak, with the hood covering her head and casting shadows on her face. The woman was a vision in black, never straying too far from the protection of the shadows.

Her costume was simple. A plain black jumpsuit, marked only by the gray belt and rather lengthy slit down the chest. The mask around her eyes was the same color as her belt and only covered the area around her eyes, leaving most of her face exposed.

"But I'm sure you understand. a girl has to do what she must."

With a smile that lit up the darkened bank the young woman turned and darted out the double doors. melting into the shadows as effortlessly as even the Bat.

* * * *

Bruce Wayne paced the cave. Three banks and seven private jewelers had been hit in the last week.

All the robberies had been flawlessly executed.

Witnesses claim that the new robber was stunning even with the mask covering part of her face.

Bruce couldn't seem to figure it out. She didn't seem vicious. she'd left everyone alive never once resorting to deadly or even brutal force.

She seemed interested only in the money, not terrorizing innocents.

But the Batman wasn't naïve enough to believe that this made the mysterious woman a good person, or even that she wouldn't result to killing people as time passes.

He knew he had to find her. but he was at a loss.

She wasn't interested in fame or recognition. She didn't flaunt her crimes. Nobody even knew what to call her, she never introduced herself to the witnesses.

Batman had been patrolling every night relentlessly in an attempt to find her but she proved to be quite elusive.

It almost seemed as though she knew where he was at all times and took pains to make sure she was on the other side of town.

He hated to admit to failure but Bruce knew he needed to bring help in on this one. Tim was tied up in school and that left only one other choice.

Dick.

He hadn't talked to Dick for weeks now. Not after their latest fight. He'd tried to -persuade- Dick to give up his ambition of becoming a Bludhaven cop and come home.

Dick, to put it mildly didn't respond well. He claimed that Bruce was trying to control his life. He said he was all grown up now. He said he could do whatever he wanted.

With a sigh Bruce looked towards the phone.

********

Dick cried out in frustration as the phone rang incessantly. He'd tried to block out the sound by covering his head with a pillow but it had proved futile.

"What!?" he asked as he finally grabbed it up.

Who would call him at 11:00? Who was even up this early?

"Is this a bad time?"

The deep level voice caught Dick off guard and he froze. "Bruce?"

"Yes, I need your help on a case."

Dick pressed his eyes shut and mentally counted to ten. Of course he needed help on a case.

Why else would he call? Certainly not to apologize.

"I'm busy. I've got my hands full with patrolling the city and I've got my shifts as a rookie during the days."

"It's taken care of. I already talked to your superiors at BHPD and the Titans are going to look after the city for you."

"Who do you--" Dick abruptly stopped his question. He knew exactly who Bruce thought he was. Batman. Master of the universe. "Did you ever consider consulting me before you made these arrangements?" Dick asked instead, trying to keep his voice calm.

"Gotham needs you, Dick. I never considered you'd turn me down when I asked for help."

Dick resignedly ran a hand through his hair and collapsed onto his couch. "I should be there in a little over an hour."

"I'll be waiting." Bruce said before hanging up.

"You're welcome," Dick muttered as he dragged himself off to the shower.

*********

"Dick! Dick Grayson!"

Dick twirled around at the familiar feminine voice and couldn't help the smile that spread across his face.

"Billy Davis," he said as she approached him.

"Where have you been keeping yourself? I haven't seen you in ages, Dick."

Dick took off his helmet and leaned against his motorcycle, he hadn't quite been ready to go to Wayne Manor and thought letting Bruce wait for him a little while wouldn't hurt. So he had headed to one of his old hangouts. Mary's Diner. He had hoped to run into someone he knew and he was pleased that he had. and that it was Billy.

Billy was -to put it mildly- gorgeous. One of her only faults however, is that she new just how beautiful she was.

She was five feet eight inches with curly blond hair and a smile to die for. She also had a perfect body. Fine toned to perfection from her dancing.

Her father was one of the richest men in Gotham, second only to Bruce Wayne and Billy had never needed to work. But like most little girls Billy had wanted to be a ballerina. Billy wasn't like most girls though. she new what she wanted. And she always got it.

Now she worked in a dance studio a few blocks away as a dance instructor. She also often performed in ballets. always as the lead.

"I live in Bludhaven, now," Dick told her. "I got a job at the BHPD"

Billy's eyes widened in askance. "What?"

"I'm a cop now, Billy."

"A cop? How dangerous."

Dick's smile widened. "I live for dangerous."

Billy's piercing green eyes smiled back, "So what brings you to Gotham?"

"Just visiting Bruce."

"How is Bruce? I haven't seen him in ages either."

"I don't really know," Dick answered honestly. "I just got here. I haven't seen him yet."

"Will you be staying long?"

"A couple days, probably,"

Billy leaned forward and kissed him gently on the lips, "Be sure to call me," she whispered.

And with a wink in his direction she was gone. disappearing into the crowd.

Dick was unaware of the figure around the corner, who had been watching everything and snapping pictures with the camera around their neck.

*********

Dick sighed heavily as he looked at the tall doors. It had been weeks since he had been at Wayne Manor.

If he was recalling correctly the last time the he had visited it ended with him darting out the front doors calling over his shoulder that he wasn't ever going to come back.

There had been a time he would have just entered but he didn't feel comfortable doing that anymore. Even if Bruce had given him back his key.

Reaching out he reluctantly knocked on the massive door, moments later it opened.

Dick smiled upon seeing Alfred, forgetting about his dread of facing Bruce he stepped forward and hugged him.

"Hello, Master Dick," Alfred said. "It has been much too long."

"I know," Dick said. "Sorry but I've been busy, you know with my night job and."

"And masquerading as a cop during the day."

Dick spun around at the cold voice. "I hardly think you're one to talk about masquerading, Bruce. So tell me, how are things as Batman? You said you needed help. I'm here. At your beck and call as always."

Bruce's eyes narrowed and he was about to respond when Alfred stepped between them. "Work will have to wait. Master Dick I'm sure you're famished from your long trip. Come with me, I'll prepare you a nice meal."

Dick allowed Alfred to lead him away but he could clearly feel Bruce's eyes bore into his back as he walked away.

********

Dick slowly walked down the cavernous steps and into the Bat Cave.

He could see Bruce sitting at the Bat Computer, he knew Bruce had heard his approach but the older man had made no move.

"So you said you needed help?" Dick said. He was trying to be civil, trying his best not to sound bitter.

"Yes," Wayne said as he turned in his chair. "Gotham has been plagued with a string of robberies. No one has been hurt in any of them, however. I don't think we're dealing with a mad man or I should say mad woman. Whoever is doing this isn't stupid."

Dick nodded, "What do you know about her?"

"Nothing, that's the problem. Witnesses don't say anything other than she was very pretty. They don't even know the color of her hair. Apparently she blended well into the shadows, and wears a dark cloak."

"Is there any pattern to the places she strikes?" Dick asked.

Bruce shook his head, "The only pattern I detect is that it's always somewhere as far from me as possible. It could be a coincidence but it feels like she always knows where and she makes sure that she's at least six blocks away."

Dick smiled widely, "Well, tonight we put that theory to the test. Where ever you go, I'll be on the other side of town. Watching all of the banks and jewelry stores in the area."

Bruce smiled slightly. It was a good simple plan. He almost told Dick so but held back, turning to his computer instead.

"Okay. So tonight we finally find this woman."

**********

Nightwing moved silently across the rooftop. He and Bruce had been sure to stay as far apart from each other as possible. If this burglar really was able to track Batman and stay away with him, she couldn't predict someone else coming after her.

After almost an hour, Nightwing finally saw movement in a nearby alley that caught his eye.

He moved towards the movement, and towards Simon's Jewelry that was right beside it.

As Nightwing dropped down into the alley, however. It was empty.

Nightwing searched around and saw the back door to Simon's was slightly ajar. Moving quietly, Dick entered the room and ran smack into someone trying to leave.

Dick landed on top of the person and even in the darkness he knew who it was. In one quick action he caught the woman's wrists and pinned them above her head.

He noticed that she had a number of bags around her waist all filled with valuables. "You're quick," Dick said sounding impressed.

The woman smiled and bent her legs and threw Dick off of her. "I know," she said as she started backing up towards the door.

Nightwing jumped from the ground and lunged for her, pinning her again this time held firmly between himself and the wall.

"Who are you?" he whispered.

The woman smiled again, despite her situation and Dick was struck by just how beautiful she was. The hood of her cloak had fallen back, revealing thick golden blonde hair.

"Call me Afina," she said sweetly.

"Alright, Afina. you're under arrest."

"Really? And what's my crime?"

Nightwing laughed, "Are you kidding? You've got an assortment of priceless diamonds tied to your waist."

"I'm no criminal," Afina said firmly, grabbing Nightwing's wrist and trying to push him away from her.

"Why don't we let the courts decide that, huh?"

Afina's smile was back, only this time it made him suspicious. He knew that smile, he'd seen it on himself a million times. Right before turned the tables on whoever he was aiming it at.

That smile would be the last thing he remembered until he woke up in the Bat Cave the next morning. A frowning Bruce looking down on him.

"Master Dick, are you alright?"

"What happened?"

The two questions bombarded him at once and he squeezed his eyes shut. "I'm fine," he said as he pulled himself into a sitting position. "And I don't know what happened."

"Simon's Jewelry has been cleaned out," Bruce told him. "You were supposed to catch her."

"Hey, cut me some slack will you? I got closer than you ever have. I don't know what happened, one minute I had her pinned against the wall, the next I'm waking up here."

"You had a sedative in your system," Alfred explained. "You were drugged."

Dick grimaced. Drugged. When had she drugged him? Then he recalled how she'd grabbed his wrist, the pressure she'd applied and the barely noticeable pinch he had felt. Whoever this Afina was, she was a professional through and through.

"I don't know if we're going to get another chance. She knows we're both here now." Bruce said. "She'll be expecting us."

Dick nodded his agreement and then covered his ears as Bruce's cell phone began to ring. Whatever she had drugged him with had left one hell of a hangover.

After a brief conversation Bruce hung up his phone, "That's strange."

"What?" Dick asked, as he took two aspirin from Alfred and swallowed them quickly.

"That was the head of the Wayne Children's Foundation. Apparently we just received a two million dollar donation."

Dick's eyes widened, "That's pretty generous."

"Indeed," Alfred agreed.

"Who's the donation from?" Dick asked.

"Billy Davis."

"Billy?" Dick repeated. "Well, that makes since. I'm sure it's not the first time she's made donations."

Bruce shook his head, "Nicholas Davis disowned Billy, Dick. He cut her off from getting any of his money and kicked her out of his home."

Dick looked at Bruce surprised. So that was why she hadn't seen Bruce. She'd been kicked out from the inner circle. "Then where'd she get the two million dollars?"

"I think that's a question that you should ask her yourself."

"Me?" Dick asked uncomfortably. "I haven't really talked with her for a long time."

"You seemed pretty comfortable with her yesterday."

Dick turned on Bruce. Had he been spying on him?

Bruce wordlessly handed Dick the Gotham Gossip. The headline read:

Bruce Wayne's Ward and Nicholas Davis's Daughter An Item?

Written by Sarah Gray.

Below it was a picture of him and Billy kissing.

Dick rolled his eyes skyward. "I can't believe this!"

"Will you talk to her?" Bruce asked.

Dick nodded, "Yea, I'll talk to her. I'm sure she has a perfectly good reason about where she got that money."

He just hopped that reason didn't involve a skintight black suit and a gray mask.

**********

When Dick had called Billy she had been eager to meet him. They had agreed to go to Mary's for lunch.

But the whole way there Dick had felt nervous. He felt like he was being followed.

As he looked over his shoulder he thought he saw someone disappear back around the corner just before his gaze reached them.

Frowning he headed back to the corner. As he began to turn a young woman who had been leaning against the wall yelped and straightened up in surprise.

Dick's eyes narrowed. "You've been following me, haven't you?"

The woman looked insulted, "Following you? Of course not. I'm working on a story."

"A story--- wait a minute, you're Sarah Gray, aren't you?"

The woman nodded, "Yes, I'm Sarah. Would you be interested in doing an interview?"

Dick looked at the woman in disbelief. She had a camera around her neck and Dick was certain she was responsible for the picture in the newspaper.

Dick almost wrote Sarah off as a mere nuisance. She seemed unremarkable. One of those people who could fade into crowds without trying. He put her in about her early to mid-thirties. Her face was framed with unruly brown hair pulled into a make-shift bun at the base of her neck and she wore tinted prescription glasses that hid her eyes. She had two pencils behind one ear and was wearing an unflattering brown dress, that went down past her knees.

But she had a determination about her, a presence that caught Dick's attention.

"No I can't do an interview," Dick looked at his watch. "I'm running late."

"For what?" Sarah asked quickly.

Dick looked up at her sharply, "None of your business."

"I beg to differ. This is my business. I'm a reporter."

"I want you to stop following me." Dick said calmly.

"Not a chance, kid. You're the hottest topic in Gotham city right now. Everyone wants to know where you've been and who you've been there with. And I want to be the one to tell them."

Dick sighed, "Have it your way," he said as he went back around the corner.

Sarah straightened her dress and then followed him. But when she made it around the corner he was no where in sight.

**********

Billy smiled as Dick entered the diner. Standing she pulled him into a quick hug before they both sat down in a booth.

"I have to admit," Billy said. "I was surprised when you called me. I didn't think you actually would."

Dick leaned back, feeling slightly guilty. "I'll be honest, Billy. I didn't call you here for lunch. This is business."

"Business?" Billy said confusedly.

"Bruce is concerned about the donation you just made."

Billy instantly tensed. Dick noticed. "I just want to make sure you got the money legitimately." Dick explained.

"Of course!" Billy exclaimed. "I haven't done anything wrong!"

"I never said you had."

"This was a bad idea," Billy said as she began to gather up her things.

"Why did your father disown you, Billy?" Dick asked.

Billy froze and she turned to Dick angrily, "Is this business too?"

"Billy, I'm trying to help you. Suddenly having two million dollars. well, it doesn't look good."

"A friend gave me the money, Dick, alright? They asked me to donate it for them."

"Who's the friend?"

"They wanted to remain anonymous,"

Dick thought he heard a slight crack in her voice. She was hiding something.

"You aren't telling me everything," Dick said. "Billy. I want to help you. Where did you get the money?"

"I told you already."

"Billy?"

Billy jumped up abruptly, "It's been lovely as always, Dick. but I have to be going now,"

"Billy wait," Dick called after her as he tried to catch up.

"Hmm," he heard a voice behind him. "It appears that Mr. Grayson and Ms. Davis are having a lovers tiff."

Dick turned around and looked daggers at the owner of the voice.

Sarah Gray gave a smile and a finger wave. "About that interview? Are you free now?"

Dick ignored her and walked back to his motorcycle.

*********

"So we've got her," Bruce said. "Billy Davis is Afina."

"I didn't say that," Dick protested. "Billy said she got the money from a friend. I believe her."

Bruce shook his head, "She's lying, Dick. You even said you knew she wasn't telling you everything."

"That doesn't mean what she did tell me wasn't the truth. I don't think Billy is Afina, Bruce."

"Then how do you explain all these coincidences?"

"I can't yet, but we shouldn't jump to conclusions. Innocent until proven guilty? Remember."

Bruce frowned. "I think your feelings for this girl are affecting your judgment."

"My judgment is fine! I know Billy."

"You've been gone along time. Billy's been getting into trouble."

"What kind of trouble? Why did her father disown her?"

"Apparently she got involved with a criminal. A convicted art thief. You really believe that's just a coincidence too?"

Dick collapsed in his chair, "Do we know who this guy is?"

Bruce nodded, "Drake Simon."

Dick got up and grabbed his leather jacket, "I think I should have a talk with him."

"Why don't you wait until tonight? We can both go."

"Nightwing isn't going to see him, Bruce. Dick Grayson is. As a concerned friend of Billy's."

********

Dick pressed down the doorbell impatiently. It hadn't taken him long to track down Drake Simon. What had surprised him however, was where he had found him.

He hadn't expected a ex-con to be living in one of the most expensive sections of Gotham.

A man in a formal uniform opened the door, "May I help you, young sir?" he asked.

The man was elderly and seemed kind. He reminded Dick of Alfred and he liked him instantly.

Giving the butler his most winning smile Dick nodded, "I was looking for Drake Simon, is he home?"

The butler nodded, "He is," the man said motioning Dick into the entry way. "Wait here please."

Dick nodded absentmindedly, surveying the house. Dick was reminded of the movie 'The Thomas Crown Affair'. He was beginning to think that this Drake Simon only stole for kicks.

"You wanted to see me?"

Dick looked up, surprised at being caught off guard. The man before him was in his mid thirties and could easily be confused as a movie star. He had blonde hair that was slightly overdue to be trimmed and intense blue eyes that could look straight into your soul.

Dick smiled and held out his hand, "Dick Grayson."

"Yes," Drake said as he shook Dick's hand. "I know who you are."

Dick had to admit he was again surprised by Drake. He'd expected a foul mouthed rebel with tattoos and his tongue pierced, Billy's usual type. Billy, Dick reluctantly acknowledged had a rebellious streak a mile long. She usually went for guys that looked like criminals. But this criminal looked anything but like an ex-con.

Drake looked like a respectable business man, oozing charm and intelligence. "I'd like to talk to you about Billy," Dick said.

Drake nodded, as though that were to be expected, "You wouldn't be the first," he said.

"I'll be honest," Dick said. "You aren't what I expected. You certainly don't seem like someone for a man to disown his daughter over."

Drake sighed, "I regret that. Our relationship ended shortly after and I told Billy to try to patch things up with her father but she's stubborn, she doesn't believe she needs him."

"Why did he disown her?"

Drake laughed, though it was a cynical sound with no real amusement, "I stole three priceless paintings from the Gotham Museum. Nicholas didn't want his daughter associating with a known criminal. even if he was reformed. The fact that I'm ten years older didn't help much, either."

"Are you reformed?" Dick asked suspiciously.

"Of course. I haven't done anything illegal for at least a week."

Dick looked at him in surprise, only to find him smiling. The man was joking with him. "When was the last time you saw Billy?" Dick asked.

Drake's smile grew wider, "A little jealous? I saw the papers. You and Billy look good together. Don't worry about me, I haven't seen her in weeks."

Dick nodded, "Alright, well I think it's in everyone's best interests if you continue to stay away from her."

"Of course," Drake said as he led Dick to the door. "Good day, Mister Grayson."

As Dick went down the steps and jumped on his motorcycle he turned back to look at the home. He could see Drake watching him from one of the windows.

Dick had encountered people like Drake before. Smooth as they come. But Dick didn't buy it.

He didn't believe a thing Drake had just told him.

********

Drake watched calmly as the young man rode off, shaking his head slightly he walked to the end table and picked up the telephone.

"We have a problem."

********

"What did you learn?" Bruce asked as Dick entered the living room.

"Nothing new. Nothing solid anyway. I don't trust that Drake though. I think he was lying to me."

"About what?" Bruce asked curiously.

"For one thing, about being reformed. I think he's still stealing things, he's just not getting caught."

"Afina is a woman," Bruce reminded.

"Yes. But have you ever wondered how Afina always knows where you are? What if Afina had an accomplice."

"If you're saying Drake is Afina's accomplice," Bruce said carefully. "You know how that looks for Billy."

Dick sighed, "I know. I hate to believe it but I saw Afina. It could have been Billy. Her hair was straight but it was the same color."

"We'll have to keep her under surveillance."

"I know."

**********

Nightwing sat across from Billy's apartment. Watching her with his binoculars.

She was pulling her hair into a ponytail when he saw her turn suddenly. She walked to her table and picked up the phone.

Billy instantly looked agitated, shaking her head as she paced the floor and tightened her grip on the phone.

"Who are you talking to, Billy?" Nightwing whispered.

Abruptly Billy hung up the phone. Nightwing stood as she grabbed her jacket and ran out of the door.

Dick followed her downtown, Billy looked nervous. Looking over her shoulder every few minutes.

But Nightwing wasn't an amateur, she never saw him.

Dick began to feel uneasy as he watched Billy sneak into an abandoned building. He didn't want to believe it but it appeared that Billy was definitely involved in something she shouldn't be.

Jumping off the building he fired his jumpline at the last possible moment. It's momentum pulling him back up and towards the building Billy had entered.

Dropping silently to the ground, Nightwing followed Billy into the building.

"Billy," Dick heard a voice say. A suspiciously familiar voice. "I'm glad you could make it on such short notice."

Drake Simon.

"You gave me very little choice, Drake." Billy's cold voice responded. "Now what is this about?"

"You weren't followed, were you?" asked a new voice.

Nightwing leaned in, getting a view of the room. He only saw Drake sitting at a wood table with Billy standing a few feet away. He didn't know where the third voice came from.

"I don't think so," Billy said uncertainly.

That's when Dick saw the owner of the third voice. A hooded figure stepped from the shadows, coming to stand behind Drake's shoulder. Reaching up, the figure lowered the hood, revealing blonde hair and a silver mask covering around her eyes.

"That's not good enough."

Afina.

Dick's happiness at Billy not being the caped burglar was short lived however, as he remembered she was still involved with them somehow.

Billy looked around and Nightwing pulled himself against the wall, "You're being paranoid. No one's here. Why have you called me, Afina? You said something was wrong."

"Cease your talking," Afina ordered. "This is not a secure location."

Drake looked at Afina, "Are you sure?"

Afina looked to the doorway and Dick cursed. "You can never be sure of anything," she whispered.

"Just tell me why I'm here!" Billy demanded.

Drake looked at her, his blue eyes freezing at her tone, "You are here because Afina and I have told you to come," he said arrogantly. "And because your little friend is becoming a problem."

"My friend?" Billy asked confused.

"Dick Grayson," Afina clarified. "He tracked down Drake today. Tried playing the jealous boyfriend but you told us yourself you and Dick were just friends. Correct?"

Billy nodded, "Yes. I don't know why he'd go to see Drake."

"I do," Afina said. "Because he didn't believe you when you said the money wasn't yours. Or he figured out that the friend that gave it to you was Drake."

"But you gave me the money Afina," Billy said coolly. "And he certainly won't mistake you for a friend. Dick's not a problem, and if you hurt him. I swear to god I will hunt you down and rip out your throat."

Dick didn't know whether to be flattered or terrified. He'd never seen this side of Billy before.

"Billy, Billy, Billy," Drake sighed. "Don't you realize you're expendable? We don't need you. We're doing this for you as a favor, because you'd be out on the streets without our contributions to your bank account."

"Your stolen money, you mean," Billy said harshly.

"You act like you have a right to be righteous," Afina said silkily. "You're as much a part of this as I, as Drake is. Whether you like this or not we're in this together."

"I thought I was expendable," Billy hissed.

Afina shook her head, "If any of us are expendable, it's Drake." Drake shot her a fiery look at that, "But enough squabbling. I have a plan. Billy, I want you to keep Dick distracted. Have him take you out. We can't afford his interference. There's too much at stake."

"You keep saying that," Billy said.

"And it remains true," Afina snapped back. "Don't forget why we're doing this. For you, it's personal gain. But we're doing this for the greater good. Take from the rich. give to the poor."

"Yea, yea," Billy said disinterestedly. "You're a regular Robin Hood. But what you're doing is still wrong. What it comes down to is still you being nothing but a petty thief."

Afina shook her head, "Of all of us here, it is not I that is the thief. Drake is, of course a thief, he admits to it readily. But you, Billy. You are the worst kind of thief. You steal and shrug the blame. Don't act like you're an innocent bystander in this. Of all of us, you're the only one getting any profit. And you aren't even doing anything."

"Not doing anything!" Billy cried indignantly. "I'm the one making contributions to the Wayne foundation. I'm the one under suspicion."

"I am as well," Drake reminded. "But I'm not making a profit. I was blackmailed into this, in case you've forgotten."

Billy seemed to tense at that, "As though you'd let me forget."

Afina raised her hand, "Enough, if we want to continue to give money to the Wayne Foundation and help those children we have to stay smart."

Dick's head was reeling at all he'd heard. The most surprising of all being that Afina, the great burglar wasn't keeping any of the money she stole for herself.

Stealing was wrong, Dick knew. He'd been told so all his life. But Afina's intentions were nothing if not noble and he'd regret having to turn her in.

"Enough, is right," Dick said as he stepped into the room.

Afina smiled upon seeing him, "Nightwing. Would it be cliché to say 'we meet again'?" Afina didn't wait for a response as she reached into her cape, taking out a throwing star she threw it at the only light bulb and it shattered plunging the room into darkness.

Nightwing quickly swung into action, deciding his first priority should be apprehending Afina.

He'd only taken a few steps when he heard the gun fire.

The light in the next room was turned on and Dick was shocked at what he saw.

Billy was in the next room, near the light switch she'd turned on.

Afina was by the door, staring at the gun in her hand like she didn't know how it got there.

And Drake. Drake was dead. A single shot to the head.

Billy gasped and turned burning eyes on Afina, "You killed him!" she cried. "Is that what you do to those you believe expendable."

"I didn't." Afina began.

"Put down the gun," Nightwing ordered angrily. And he'd just been getting to like the sultry swindler too.

Afina looked up, her confused eyes meeting Dick's. Faster than Dick would have though possible, she dropped the gun and disappeared through the door.

When Nightwing made it out into the street, it was empty.

Billy walked out and stood next to Nightwing, pale as a ghost. "He's dead," she said. "He's dead."

Nightwing pulled her into a hug, "I know."

"I. I've never seen anyone die. I didn't mean to get involved in this. my father, he's going to really hate me now. I'll never be able to face him."

Dick sighed, he didn't know how Billy had gotten involved with those people but he took pity on her.

"Look," Nightwing said. "You've been through enough. I want you to go home. I'll tell the police what happened. They'll need a statement from you about what you saw. but they'll probably just let you go to the station tomorrow morning."

Billy nodded and silently began to make her way home. Nightwing watched her concerned for a moment and then contacted Bruce.

"We've got a problem, Batman. A murder, you'd better call Gordon."

*********

Dick collapsed onto his bed. He could still see Drake sitting lifeless in that chair. his eyes staring at vacantly, blinded forever.

He couldn't believe how badly he'd misjudged Afina. He hadn't had her pegged as a killer. Especially not after her speech about how they needed to save the children.

Sighing he closed his eyes. Bruce had been surprisingly supportive. He'd been sure the Dark Knight would be disappointed that he hadn't been able to save Drake.

But Dick hadn't know Afina carried a gun. She'd yet to harm anyone in any of her burglaries. But Bruce had told him there had been nothing he could do. Had said he was just glad that his son was alright.

Dick had asked 'who are you and what have you done with Bruce Wayne' and the moment had been shattered. Dick had regretted the words the moment he had said them. The hurt in Bruce's eyes transferring to himself.

Dick pressed his eyes shut. He needed to get some sleep. Tomorrow was going to be a hard day.

Afina had just become Batman and Nightwing's top priority. She'd crossed the line and taken a life and now they had to find her and bring her to justice.

The 'kid gloves' as they say, were off.

**********

Dick cursed as he got a look at the morning paper. How had Sarah Gray gotten wind of the shooting last night, anyway?

He was more than a little surprised at her take on the situation, as well. She was asking why, after all the robberies that Afina had already successfully pulled off, would the woman suddenly commit murder.

That was the question that Dick was asking himself. It could be considered a crime of passion. Frustrations between partners. It could be that it was an unlucky shot, made in the dark by a frightened burglar.

But no, that shot had been intentional. Even in the dark, Afina's aim had been impeccable.

But why? He wondered. He'd heard Afina say that Drake was expendable but he wasn't a hindrance either. if he was right then Drake was doing surveillance for Afina and that would come in handy.

Afina had been pulling off these robberies flawlessly. Never once losing her cool. But this had been careless. Committing murder with a masked vigilante only feet away?

Something didn't fit and he was going to find out what.

The first thing he had to do was get in touch with Billy. Maybe she could shed some light on the situation.

*********

Sarah Gray entered her apartment and slammed the door shut. That double crossing witch!

She couldn't believe she'd trusted her. She had thought she'd be an asset, and Drake had paid the price of her mistake.

And now everyone thought Afina was a murderer. They believed she'd killed an unarmed man. Shaking her head Sarah cursed at her bad luck. She didn't think that her story had done much to give people doubts about Afina's guilt.

She'd given a convincing story that Afina had no reason to kill but people didn't care. Their minds had already been made.

Sarah sighed. This matter would have to be resolved.

She slowly took off her glasses. Then she reached up to her forehead and in one quick motion pulled of the unkempt brown wig and dropped it to the floor. Thick blonde hair fell around her shoulders and Sarah opened her desk drawer.

Taking out a gray mask she smiled and placed it on.

This was a job for Afina.

*******

Dick knocked harshly on Billy's door.

"Who is it?"

"It's Dick,"

He heard the sound of a chain and bolt being unlocked and the door opened. Billy looked perfect as always, her hair swept expertly up into a purple clip to match her sweater.

Billy smiled upon seeing him, "Come in," she said motioning for him to enter.

Dick nodded and stepped into the apartment. "I heard about Drake's murder. The papers said you were a witness. What have you gotten involved in, Billy?"

A veil dropped over Billy's eyes and her stance became guarded. "Nothing," she said cautiously.

"I can help you, Billy. If you'd only tell me what's going on."

"Stay out of this, Dick. I don't want you hurt."

"And I don't want you hurt. I'm not staying out of this, Billy."

Billy shook her head, "No, no, you can't be involved. I like you, Dick. You've always been nice to me. Hell, let's be honest, I've loved you from the moment we met. So, please. Leave, right now."

Dick looked a little shell shocked from the admission but quickly recovered, "I can't leave. I couldn't live with myself if I left and then you were hurt."

"She'll only be getting what she deserves," said a silky voice from behind them.

Both Dick and Billy spun around, Afina was standing in front of an open window the curtain swaying behind her.

"She is a murderer, after all."

"A murderer," Dick repeated.

Afina turned to Dick, "You really hadn't figured it out yet?" she asked sounding disappointed. "I'd expected more from you."

"You killed Drake," Billy hissed. "Don't dare try to blame it on me."

Afina sighed, as though this whole situation was boring her. "Billy, my dear. I don't have to try to blame it on you. When you did it you left enough evidence to make yourself look guilty without any help from me."

Billy shook her head, "I saw what you did, Afina and so did that Nightwing. You're wanted for murder, I haven't done anything."

Dick watched with interest. Afina was blaming Billy for the murder? It wasn't possible.

But then Bruce's words came back to him, 'I think your feelings for this girl are affecting your judgment.' Was his judgment clouded by his emotions? His thoughts went back to the previous night, the ice in Billy's voice as she spoke with Afina and Drake. The cool and total control that surrounded Afina. the kind of cool that would keep you from reacting rashly. from killing someone in front of two witnesses. To the way Afina had looked at the gun in disgust and confusion, as though she really didn't know how it had gotten placed in her hands.

"Your prints are all over the gun, Billy," Afina continued. "You'd been counting on the fact that they wouldn't check that because there were witnesses. But I'll make sure they do. I wear gloves, yours are the only prints they'll find."

"You're insane, Afina!" Billy cried. "I'm no murderer!"

Afina laughed, "Don't play the innocent little girl with me, that might work with the junior playboy here," she said motioning to Dick. "But I know the truth. You had a motive as well, didn't you, Billy?" Afina laughed. "What a small world, huh? Who knew the same information I was using to blackmail Drake could implicate you as well. Well, Drake knew, didn't he? And that's why you killed him."

"I don't know what you're talking about," Billy said quickly.

"The pictures of him stealing that Picasso, I thought I was so good to have caught him and his partner. but I only needed his help and didn't look into the other person. I never realized it was you."

"His partner!" Billy echoed in disbelief. "I'm a *ballerina*, Afina. What do I know about being a thief?"

"You know everything he taught you. And he taught you well but his use had come to an end. He was blackmailing you as well, wasn't he Billy? He just couldn't stand that you were getting paid and he wasn't so he forced you to give him a cut or he'd tell me you were his accomplice in stealing the Picasso."

Dick stood frozen. Afina's words made so much sense. Filled in so many blanks. Explained his unanswered questions. But he didn't want to believe it. He didn't want to believe that Billy could do it.

"Billy," he whispered.

The two women turned to him in mild surprise, remembering his presence.

"Is it true?" Dick asked.

Billy looked away, unable to meet his eyes. Billy was proud of what she'd done in her life. She never felt any shame or regret. except when she was with Dick, when she was with Dick she saw a glimpse at the life she could have had, had she tried harder. She saw someone who was honorable and always did the right thing.

"You don't understand," Billy said brokenly as she began to back away from Afina and Dick. "You don't understand. I'm not heartless! I didn't want to kill him! He didn't give me a choice. I was left with no choice. Besides, blaming it on Afina was doing Gotham a favor, it was stopping her from her crime spree."

"Crime spree?" Afina repeated. "I'm doing this city a favor. People like your father have too much money for their own good, I'm just giving some of it to the needy."

"You've no right to be righteous," Billy hisses, repeating Afina's earlier words. "You're no innocent." With that Billy pulled out a small pistol. "You shouldn't have come here, Afina. You just shouldn't have come."

Afina stared down the barrel of the gun impassively. She knew Billy would never get the chance to fire.

Dick kicked out, knocking the gun from Billy's grasp and in one quick moved he had Billy pinned against the wall in a very familiar move.

Afina watched the entire display without batting an eye. "Thanks for the help," Afina said. "Do see that Ms. Billy falls into the custody of the GCPD, will you darling? I have other places to be."

"Hey, wait," Dick called but she was already gone and Dick couldn't leave Billy to chase after her.

Billy had slide down the wall and begun to cry. Her sobs uncontrollable. Dick picked up the phone and called the police.

Then after watching Billy for a moment, Dick did something Batman would never even consider. He sat beside her and pulled her in his arms. Billy grabbed onto him like a lifeline.

"It's okay," he whispered though he knew it wasn't. Billy had killed a man, had helped the same man to steal priceless paintings.

He heard the sirens in the distance and knew they were coming for her. But he still felt sorry for her. He'd known Billy most of his life, and he couldn't help but think he could have prevented this somehow.

Billy was looking at Dick in wonderment. Why hadn't he left her yet? They always left. Always once they realized what she really was. The things she harbored inside of her. the anger the hate. Drake had left her, after watching her chocking a security guard to death with an electrical cord he told her he didn't want anything to do with her anymore. Of course fate had stuck them together again but Drake could only look at her like she was scum.

But here Dick was holding her. Dick who hated guns and violence. He didn't. couldn't understand. No one could, but unlike the others he didn't judge. She saw pity in his gaze instead of disgust.

Soon the police came in, she didn't want to let go of Dick, she cried out to him as they pulled her away. As they roughly pulled her hands behind her back and locked the cuffs.

Dick didn't say anything. He stood there watching while Commissioner Gordon tried to pull him to the side out of the way. Dick didn't budge though. He still couldn't believe that Billy had committed murder.

She looked so lost. Her mascara had begun to smear, her hair had begun to fall out of her ponytail. She was calling his name but he didn't try to go to her this time.

She was a murderer. She'd killed Drake in cold blood, and probably others as well.

"She'll only be getting what she deserves," Afina had said. "She is a murderer, after all."

********

Afina dropped down silently but he still heard her, as she knew he would.

Nightwing turned slowly to face her.

"Billy's been arrested for Drake's murder. My name has been cleared."

Nightwing didn't say anything. He was still trying to come to terms with that.

"We could be allies, Nightwing. There's no reason we should be enemies."

"Are you going to continue to steal?" Nightwing asked.

"Of course," Afina said.

Nightwing nodded, he'd expected as much. "Then you know we can't be allies. As for being enemies, I'll be leaving soon. I might have a talk with Batman before I leave. Tell him he has more to worry about in this city than some petty thief."

Afina smiled. "It would be appreciated, I'm sure. We wouldn't want Batman wasting his precious time trying to find someone he'll never catch."

Nightwing smiled and Afina turned to leave, before she fired a jump line however, his voice stopped her. "Oh, and Sarah. Stop following me."

Sarah turned around in shock. She hadn't realized that Dick knew she'd discovered his identity let alone that he'd realized hers. "How did you know?" she asked.

"You weren't watching me while you followed me around for your 'stories', it was Billy you were keeping your eye on. But that isn't what gave you away. It was that story, the police were going to keep the whole thing under wraps. Only three people new what happened there."

"I could have just been a friend of Afina's, but you were certain I was her, how?"

"How did you realize I was Nightwing?" Dick countered.

Afina smiled, "Little things. Your disappearing act, your investigation on where Billy got the money. but mostly just intuition. I just knew it was you."

Dick nodded, "And I just knew it was you."

Sarah turned around, "Your secret's safe with me, Dick," she said as she jumped into the night. "Just like I know mine is with you." she whispered to herself.

The End.

There might be a sequel to this story. to show what happens with Dick and Bruce's relationship and also Afina and Nightwing's relationship. And of course Billy will be back and more dangerous than before.