Barbara looked at her faint reflection through the old diner's window. She pulled her hair into a pony tail and looked at the plain black shirt and jeans she had worn to work. Dick Grayson walked through the door. She exhaled, noticing that he was just wearing his college sweatshirt and jeans. He saw Barbara in the corner and took a seat across from her at the booth.

"So what's good here?" he said as his eyes looked at Harvey Bullock taking advantage of the old jelly doughnuts on sale for half price at the counter.

"To be honest. I don't have a clue. Dad and I always got coffee here." She smiled.

"Coffee? How long have you been drinking coffee?" he asked as he took out the notebook with "criminology" written on it from his backpack.

"Too long. Dad's never on time so I would come here and drink coffee until he got here. I guess that's how I became a night person." She said looking down at the cup of coffee in front of her.

"I know how that is." He asked, realizing the words shouldn't have been said when he saw her confused and ready to question look. Barbara was the only girl he couldn't play stupid with.

"What do you mean? You're not a night person, are you Grayson? You always seemed like an early bird to me. Always taking early classes and such." She said opening up her book.

"Well. it started when I was in the circus. Our shows would usually take place at night, and after that I couldn't just go to sleep. We all had to get everything packed before we could hit the road for the next night. I guess I couldn't change after that." He said as the grungey middle aged waitress came to the table.

"What will you two study birds be having today?" she asked as she wiped the grease off of her hand and onto her apron before she took her pen and paper out.

"I'll have a waffle with strawberries," Dick said as he handed the waitress the menu.

" That sounds good, I think I'll have the same," Barbara said as she pointed to her cup.

" That'll be about fifteen minutes," the lady said.

" Listen, Babs. I need to apologize about last night. Bruce needed me to help him out with a business project that was really important to him. It was the last thing I wanted to do on a Friday night." Dick said, wandering if he should make a move for her hand.

"Don't worry about it. I guess it's necessary. I mean you'll be taking over Wayne Industries and Bruce needs to see that you're dedicated."

"I don't know if I really want to be a businessman like Bruce. That's why I'm in college. Anyways I hope I just didn't leave you alone last night."

"I said don't worry about it. I errr.hung out with a new friend that I made and did some criminology stuff." She said giving the classic half smile.

"Friend?" Dick became red inside but gave a poker face. "This wouldn't be a guy friend, Barbara Gordon?"

"Well, yeah but I barely know the guy. I don't want to reveal too much. He doesn't either. Heck he might have a girlfriend for all I know. It'll probably lead nowhere." She looked down at the table and then into Dick's eyes. "No commitment or anything."

"Oh," Dick said. "How did you meet him?" Dick said drilling his fork underneath the table through out Barbara's long pause.

"Well, it's funny.heh.that you ask that." She rolled her fingers through her hair. "He's actually into criminology too. He's been in it for a longer time than the two of us. I guess he's sort of tutored me, but I think it's the other way around sometimes." She said blushing and giving a laugh even though it was an inside joke.

Dick faked a laugh too, "Well that's good, Babs. You deserve the best."

"Suuure Grayson. My answering machine is just filled with that many applicants."

"You're almost as modest as Bruce." He said laughing.

"Please. I haven't had a guy ask me out in a year. I mean, I'm not going to say what I deserve but it just seems that most guys are afraid of making any move or sign of interest. Dad's not the most open to seeing me date, but just because he's the Commissioner doesn't mean he'll have the SWAT team follow me on a date. Well.maybe just Harvey Bullock but would could out chase him." Harvey looked behind the counter, not understanding how his name was connected to the laughter that came from the two college students behind him.

"What about you Grayson? Has my room mate gotten a call back from you or have you gotten to her on your list?" she asked.

"You're the pretty much the only girl I spend time with Gordon, if you can believe that." He said.

"You know that I can tell when you're lying. You tap your hand like you're playing the piano against the table when you're lying." Dick raised his eyebrow then noticed his hand. "hehe.. I'm a police officer's daughter, detective skills are in my blood"

"Well you should know that most girls hear my name and dollar signs pop in their eyes." He said looking at his waffle that had been waiting on the kitchen counter.

"Yeah, but I know that most girls like you more than the other rich guys because you don't act like a snob. You 've been volunteering your time to the orphanage as long as I can remember. You're smart, funny, an athlete, and.."

Dick looked up at her. "And?"

"You say another word after this and I'll sock you in the nose."

"And?"

"You're.attractive."

"Haha. Barbara Gordon finally gives up and admits her undying love for me. In time I knew it would come."

"You're also full of yourself, Grayson." She said as Dick did his fake victory dance in his booth.

"It's okay Babs. Hate to break your heart but you're probably better off with a different guy." The tone became serious. "I'm not relationship material."

"And Why is that."

"Well if you haven't noticed. I can't commit. Not like most girls expect me to. This whole business thing with Bruce. It's like. I live two separate lives. I can't be the guy a girl wants me to be if I'm never around. There's just too much weird stuff that's been going on in my life, all I can be is a friend."

"Makes sense. Makes a lot of sense. But you still haven't fessed up to you lie." She took a sip of coffee and looked out the window. "Whose the girl you don't want to talk about."

"I.err. met her through business. Bruce was out of town one weekend and she came in to help. I like her .she's beautiful, but we don't get along that well. For all I know she's probably into Bruce. They sort of have the same style." He said.

"Well cheer up Grayson, there'll be others."

"Yeah, I don't think I'm going to be able to mix the business with pleasure. Bruce has already taught me a few times that that's not the best idea."

"Same thing kind of goes with this guy I went out with last night. Dad met him and knew him before I did and it'd just be weird if we were together. He's a great guy but has a few issues that dad might not like. I mean dad still hasn't given up the hopes that the two of us will get together."

"What?" Dick said laughing, putting his hands behind his head.

"Please Grayson, don't play dumb. Dad's been trying to set us up since the first time we met."

"First time we met? I find that.a little hard to believe." He said half coughing.

"Oh, well it's been cornily hinted between Dad and Bruce for a long time."

"You remember the first time we met?" Dick asked nervously.

"It's not something that anyone could forget. Is it?" Barbara said shly.

"Guess not."

"I remember getting up early. I never get up early, because Dad was going to take the day off so we could see it. The television wouldn't stop talking about it, and being a gymnast - well - seeing the Flying Grayson's in person is like seeing the Knights playing in the Super Bowl.

Dad and I never really had any time together. He was always working, but that day we saw the animals, we ate snow cones, we heard the clowns jokes and laughed at them. I sat by Bruce and Vicki, or what ever his girlfriend at the time's name was and I bought a poster of The Flying Graysons. I was going to get to see them, you, after the performance. I guess I did get to go down, it just wasn't the way I expected."



The waffles were placed on the table, stopping the conversation.

"The clowns tried talking to me," Dick said as he took a bite of his waffle. "but aside from the few police officers, no one bothered me. I sat there on the elephant stand, just wandering about what just happened= wandering about what was going to happen."

"You looked alone. Dad was busy questioning everybody. I just wanted to."

"You told me that I did a good job. I told you thanks and walked away. Then you told me about your mom. I stopped walking and I told you that I was fine."

"You tapped your fingers on the pole," Barbara said trying not to cry. "Like you were playing the piano."

Dick paused. "Then you told be about Batman. How he was real. How you saw him. How he flew through the air, like I did up there."

"You told did a headstand during half of our conversation. You didn't want me to feel sorry for you."

"Then your dad came, told me that he wanted to ask me more questions, introduced me to Bruce, and you."

"Said that Bruce was the nicest guy I knew, had a big house and a funny uptight butler with a british accent. Dad wouldn't let a boy spend the night and said the house was too much of a mess for you to stay with us anyways. So I said that Bruce Wayne needed the company and if he was boring you."

"You would have been there for me," Dick said not able to look into her blue eyes. "at the station."

"Yeah, well, you were pretty easy to relate to. I was a bookworm/tom girl back then, so it was hard to make friends. I didn't have the mother/daughter moments that all of the girls had so I resented them for that."

"I guess I never thanked you. I guess I never said sorry for getting so distant after that."

"It's no big deal, Grayson. Bruce keeps you busy for good reason." She said finishing her waffle.

"Yeah, but there's other things than work that I wanted to do."

"I was a study bug through out high school, I just read - did gymastics and judo. Then came home to tell daddy all about it. Now that we're past that, I have a question for you?"

"Shoot away," he said.

"Why do you think that the professor assigned us to this project?" she asked as she looked at the well written letter that addressed the assignment.

"Well G-O-R-D-O-N and G-R-A-Y-S-O-N are alphabetically next to each other. That's how he did the entire class. It's stupid, but I guess it worked out in our benefit. I mean we do have the highest grades in the class." He said admiring his achievement.

"Guess you're right, but everyone else got assignments from last year about specific recently SOLVED crimes. We got an recently UNSOLVED crime. It's the first time this has ever happened in his four year's of teaching."

"He.He's probably just giving us a hard time because both of us have backgrounds in this and wants to make sure that we're not cheating."

"Both of us?" Barbara asked.

"Babs. Didn't you know that Bruce was a Criminology major too?" Dick said.

"Sorry, I guess I always thought he was a business major." She said passing her dirty plate to the bus boy. "Well maybe we could work on this tonight, after dinner or something. I know it's due in a few weeks but this could be fun for us. Aside from the balls and banquets we've been to, we really haven't talked in awhile."

"You're actually the first person that I've been assigned to work with that actually wants to do the work. Throughout my years at Prep I was always doing everything, which wasn't bad because I never had free time to work with them"

"Are you telling me."

"Bruce is out of town and I promised I'd go to a dinner for him." Barbara watched his fingers roll on the table as if he were a jazz pianist.

"Oh," she said. "well you know.it's really alright. You know me, I'm a person who likes to work alone and if it doesn't go my way.."

"Sorry Babs, how about dinner at five at the Manor, tomorrow? We might make a decent team"

She paused as he beat her to picking up the check.

"I.already have plans," she said.

"Well why don't you cover the police field notes and I study the history of the jade cat?" he said we'll see each other in class on Monday and talk about it there.

"That sounds fine Dick," she said making sure she had all of her books.

"Bruce should be in town soon, so I'll probably get a lot of free time in the future."

"You're hard work should be rewarded, Dick."

His cell phone rang.

"hello"

"oh hey, yeah Alfred I'll need a new suit for tonight"

"did she call? Tell her I'll call her before I leave."

"yeah, she could just stop on by if she wanted, I guess"

Barbara picked up her purse, mouthed "thanks" to Dick and then walked out of the diner.































Leslie Thompkins showed up at the door of Wayne Manor. Alfred, who was accustomed to opening the door was out raced by Dick.

"Glad you could come at such short notice," Dick said happily.

"Tell me what you know," she said as the two walked over to the living room.

"It's been three days." He said taking a seat.

"We have a device in his belt that allows us to find him or his body," he didn't want to make eyes contact with her, "if the worst should happen. Right now it's not showing up."

"The car?" she asked as if she were the mother - not the doctor.

"I found it, by the docks. It's condition is fine."

"Who do you think it was?"

"I've been going through the files, there are so many of them though. Not many people liked him, remember?" he said grimly. "I know which ones are locked up, but that never stops us from an inside man."

"Who is out," she asked.

"Harvey, Pamela, Matt.the list is too long."

"Where were you when this happened?" she asked suspiciously.

"There were two crimes at once. A bank robbery and the museum robbery. He told me to take the bank, the police said that they were a bunch of unknown thugs. The jade cat was a target for weeks, we expected Catwoman to hit it."

"So Selina could be the mastermind?" Leslie said believing she had solved the crime.

"Unfortunately the surveillance tapes were tampered with. She's never been out to kidnap or kill Bruce. I know her style - that's not it." He said.

"Criminals often change patterns, Dick. What about this new person on the news whose been with you?" she asked watching Dick blush.

"Her name is Batgirl. She.doesn't cause too much trouble. She even helped me out of a situation the other night."

"Do you know her identity?" she asked.

"No."

"She could be there to lead you away from what you are looking for." Leslie said boldly.

"I doubt it, she has helped us in other situations against different criminals. She even saved Bruce her first night out."

"Do you know that it's the same person?" she said and was surprised by the look on Dick's face.

"Yeah," he said convincingly.

"How can you be sure?"

"Because of the smell of her hair."

"Listen, I've known you for many years and understand that you're a grown man but I would recommend that you don't slee"

"We really don't get along that well out there, so no need to worry - Leslie. I asked you to come here because I need to know what I should do."

"What do you mean?"

"If the worst has happened, then what do I do? I've been fine, taking this sidekick role for the last ten years. I don't regret it, I just don't know if this is something I've wanted to do for my entire life. I'm not sure if I want Bruce's life, his legacy."

" I knew this time would come," she sighed. "My advice?"

"Yes," he said folding his hands.

"I know that I've been doing this for you two. I realize the sacrifices you have made in your life as Dick are reflecting the same as Bruce's. You must measure which values are more important to you. Do you want to be the family man with wife and kids? Or do you want to be the one that protects them?" she said.

She hugged him tightly with her fragile body and whispered into his ear. "Find Bruce, I don't know what I would do if I didn't have the late night calls asking me to treat a simple bullet wound."

"Thank you, I appreciate your help." He said as he escorted the elderly woman to the door.

"You know Bruce was going through the same thing at your age," she said as she walked out into the sunlight.

"Oh yeah, what did you tell him?" he asked.

"To talk to Alfred"























"Batman's been missing for days and as soon as word spreads we'll have every freak hitting the streets," Jim Gordon told his daughter as he was getting dressed after dinner.

"You think that he's okay, dad?" Barbara said fiddling around with her dinner.

"I hope," he said fixing his tie in the mirror, "for my sake."

Barbara looked at the paper, "What about Batgirl and Robin?"

"They're doing all they can. They stopped a few muggers by the docks the other nights." Jim hugged his daughter and saw the signal flashing out above their apartment. "Don't stay up late for me"

"I think I might be in the dorms, this weekend. I have a big project I've been working on. Thanks for the copies of the field notes of the jade cat robbery." She smiled.

"What copies?" he winked and walked out the door.

Gordon walked down the stairs and into the police car waiting for him. Detective Montoya nodded at him and handed him a folder.

"What do we have here?" Jim asked.

"The video camera connection was actually hacked into so it would appear scrambled. One of our lab junkies was able to unscramble something that looks like this."

The feed was of a woman in a black, or dark colored catsuit. Jim didn't have to say what is on his mind. "Good job, Montoya. I want you and Bullock to get on finding Selina Kyle"

"Let's just hope we can get a hold of her," Montoya said as she started the car for the short drive to the police station.

"So is that why we have the light on tonight?" Jim said keeping his eye on the signal.

"Actually we caught two of Two-Face's old henchmen trying to rob a store tonight, they say that they were working for Catwoman. She might be planning something soon."

"Where are they now?" he asked.

"Posted bail under a woman with a pen name," she said.

They heard Bullock's voice in the transmitter. "What is it Bullock?"

"Two kids in costumes are on the roof asking me Trick or Treat" he laughed.

"We're outside the door." Jim said as he rushed into the police building and to the elevator with Montoya.

"Sir, should I get a warrant for Selina Kyle's arrest?" the female detective asked.

"That sounds fine, Renne. Be careful with this assignment. Selina has been very mysterious through out her years as Catwoman. I want her picture to be given to every airport, train station, port, and toll booth worker in a forty mile radius."

"Will do, Sir." The door to the top floor opened. As they were greeted by an un-amused Bullock eating a jelly doughnut.

"Bullock I put you and Renee to track down Selina Kyle." He saw the two crimefighters standing on the edge of the building, arguing like school children. "Batgirl and Robin?"

The two stopped their fighting and walked over to the Commissioner He looked at Robin.

"Where is your boss?"

"He and Superman are taking care of some guy. Brainiac the dark lord of evil or something like that." Robin said scratching his head while Montoya gave a funny look as Bullock laughed.

" When is he coming back?" Montoya asked.

"Doesn't seem like we need him, we already got the jade cat mystery solved without you twos." Bullock said as Robin gave him a funny face when Gordon and Montoya weren't looking.

"He'll be back soon," Robin said as he looked at the folder Gordon held in his hand.

"You two will be glad to hear that our beliefs were right. The surveillance video at the museum was tampered with but we were able to get a few glimpses of Catwoman when we unscrambled it.

"Mind if I take a look?" Batgirl said as she swiped the folder from Gordon's hand before he could hand it to Robin.

She looked at five blown up pictures from a video camera. The first one was of two legs sliding down a rope from the roof. The second was of Catwoman and three men hanging around the cat statue. The third was of her taking the statue. Robin and Batgirl's' eyes opened widely as they saw Batman approach two of the henchmen. The last was of Batman knocked down and being carried by two men.

"I take it he got out okay, right son?" Gordon said tipping down his glasses.

"Yeah, he got out of it but by then Catwoman was gone," he said tapping his fingers on the folder.

"What did you need us for, Commissioner?" Batgirl interrupted.

"Catwoman might have something planned soon. We caught some boys who said that they were working for her we got them to fess up before they were posted bail. Didn't seem too bright so they could be back to work for all we know."

"Or hope" Montoya intruded. "They're living at the same place and we have a detective staking them out right now. The men haven't left. It'd be nice if you two could be an extra set of eyes."

"I think we can handle that," Batgirl said take a piece of paper from the other female detective. Robin approved of the idea, but not of the control.

"Check back with us tomorrow night," Jim said as he watched the two leave, "and good luck."











Batgirl and Robin sat silently watching the two thugs watch TV.

"So where is Batman?" Batgirl asked.

"He's ." she made eye contact with him. "He's missing. I haven't talked to him in days."

"Why didn't you tell me that last night?"

"Because I didn't want it on your mind," he said. "The whole town freaks out when he's gone. If I took I night off, no one would notice."

"I didn't think you were in this for the fame," she said. "And if you really didn't want the whole town to freak out why didn't you put on his suit?"

Robin was stunned. He remembered why Batman liked working alone.

"I'm not in this for the fame and if I was I wouldn't be wearing tights," he said.

She giggled. "How long have you been Robin? There's been a rumor that there's been four, five, maybe six Robins. One was even a girl. Dad said he knows the answer, I think there's only one but I could be wrong."

"There's only been one." He said and after that he thought he sounded a bit too much like Batman. "I started when I was in junior high or so."

"And there's only been one."

"Yeah, there will only be one too." He said.

"What if. well .what if there wasn't a Batman? Would you become him?" she asked.

"We fight for the same reasons, but I'm not him. The whole thing has made him into a different person. It's his life." He said.

"I just did the Batgirl thing and thought I'd do it once. It was one of those times where I felt like I had something to prove to myself that I could," she said.

"What made you come back? Batman's undying speeches that involved you not being ready?"

"Heh.no," she said reducing the space between the two of them on the ledge. He was too busy looking through the binoculars to notice.

"I'm the average girl down there and I feel like that when I am - down there. When I'm doing this, when I float through the air and fly onto a rope then smack a bad guy in the face. That's when I feel, alive."

"I took a night off when I was in high school, I had a date that I had a crush on for as long as I can remember. She had this dress which made my friends hate me.uh she went to a different school so it was the first time they saw her too. and the whole night."

"Yeah?"

"The whole night I felt like I was messing up because I wasn't out here."

"I don't know if I could stop doing this. It's a rush and it still hasn't gotten old. When I'm out there I think about the long term and short term. In the short term I wander what Arkham escapee will I take out tonight. Lately, it seems like the long term dreams of having the picket fence and two point five kids is fading away."

"This isn't a hobby or even a job, it's a vocation. Believe it or not but most of the superheroes don't even have double lives like you and me. That's all they do. It's a calling. Right now, I don't know if being a sidekick every night for the rest of my, his life is what I'm called to do."

"They're leaving." She said as Robin sat up and took a remote control from his belt, pressed a button and watched the Batwing hover through the sky, toward them.

Robin hopped into the cockpit, then looked at Batgirl still standing on the rooftop.

"Don't tell me you're afraid of flying?" he smiled.

"Afraid of flying? No. Afraid of your flying skills? Yes." She said as she carefully took the seat behind him on the jet. He closed the cockpit and set the plane to spiral into the air at full speed. "C'mon I've only crashed this thing, once or twice."

"You're just too good with your words, Boy Blunder."

Looking at the Bat-camera shot from the computer screen they saw the two men get inside a sleek black truck.

"Where are you boys going, it's past curfew." He said watching the van speed off.

"What's going on?"

"They're passing Main, heading towards Behney."

"Oh, should we call the police?"

"No, I think we can handle this."

"It looks like they're going into the warehouse district," he said hesitantly.

"What could they steal there?" she asked.

"What could they hide there?" he said looking back at her.

"Or who," she said softly.

The police radio light was flashing on the control panel in front of Batgirl. She pressed the right button.

"This is officer Montoya, officer Bullock and I have separated on a field chase for what appears to be Selina Kyle's right hand man. I'm on foot on 11th and Memphis please send back up. Suspect is armed and dangerous. I repeat 11th and Memphis."

"We should help her," Batgirl protested.

"We're on these guys right now, I'm sure she caught him before he was on his way here. By the time we get over there both of the events might be over."

They watched the truck stop and three men go into the building.

"Guess we might as well see what's going down since we spent all this time coming here." She said as Robin hovered the aircraft down a block away from the scene.

Tip toeing over the metal roof of the old dark warehouse they looked through an old window and saw the two men walk past boxes over to Catwoman. She slapped them with her whip.

"Someone is mad that they were caught," she smiled as she got hold of here batarang.

"Not yet, he whispered."

"How are we going to do this?" she asked as their eyes focused on a man who came out of the dark.

Along with his nice suit he wore a sleek black cowl which only had openings for his eyes. Also in his hand was a pistol, which he pointed at one of the men for a second while chewing him out.

"That's it, I'm going in." she said as she slowly opened the window.

"No, if we go now.." He watched her quickly repel straight down over the mysterious gunman. "we're compromise the misson and never see Batman." He flung out through the window as well.

Batgirl extended her leg when the gunman raised his pistol at her. The sound of shattered glass came with the sudden disappearance of light in the building. Gunshots and gunsmoke followed.

Batgirl hit the ground hard, she couldn't make anything out of the darkness when she suddenly heard silence.

CRASH. B'DUM. "AGGGH!" B'DUM.

Wishing she had brought a flashlight she waited for her eyes to get used to the night. There were footsteps, some were of running others were of limping. She felt a hand rub the soft side of her stomach and raised her elbow high.

"Ow. I think you broke my nose." The voice was Robin's.

"Oh my god, I couldn't see a thing. I thought you were.."

"Not smart enough to bring a mask without night vision capabilities?" he chuckled.

"You were the one that took out the lights," she argued.

"Well it was hard to choose between taking out the lights or watching you die."

"Die? I had that guy and Catwoman taken care of!"

"If you would've listened to me then we would've waited until we saw if they had Batman or not. Rescues him and.

The two paused their debate when they heard a man shout from the side of the door.

"Unfortunately that never happened. It is also tragic that my first meeting with the two of you has indeed become my last." The mysterious gunman said.

Batgirl heard something breeze past by her followed by the sound of Robin fall to the ground.

"To our luck the same night that we were going to blow this place up is the same night Batgirl and Robin decide to drop on by. No better way to go. The Bird has it's wing's clipped while the other one is Blind as a Bat."

"Robin!? What's going on?" Batgirl asked.

"My legs, some one threw a bola at them, I can't- can't get out of them. You have to take my mask and get out of here before this place blows." He said reaching up and tapping her hand.

"I can't let you do that."

"You don't have many options, do you?" he said as she heard the sound of him pulling his mask off.

"Use your remote control. call the Batwing to go above that window up there and we'll get out."

She saw the plane fly above the window and felt him whisper in her ear. "Hurry, hold on."

The sound of the bat-grapple hurt her ears, then she saw the moonlight smeared ceiling. She looked at Robin's hand. He hadn't put his mask back on. When she looked up she heard the explosion, they flew up as the dust made her cover her eyes by burying her face in Robin's chest.











































"Keep your head there," Robin grimly whispered into her ear as they were flying through the air. If he let go of his grip on her to put on his mask she might slide down.

"It's all right, I won't look, Robin," she said closing her eyes tightly even though she was truly curious inside.

Gliding feet above rooftops Robin's eyes widened when he saw a condo with a pool on top heading towards him. "Get ready to let go and drop. Trust me." He said as he let go of his grip on the grapple.

The two hit the pool and separated as they descended to the bottom. Robin reached for his remote to the Batwing telling it to stop where it was. He flipped around and put his mask on, and began to swim his way to the top.

He sat on the side of the pool with her, she looked shook up. The sound of sirens were so normal in his life that he thought it was silent outside.

"I should call Gordon, tell him that Catwoman's not the only one we have on our hands?"

"I screwed up tonight. We should've gone by your rules. You're the one with a superhero training degree."

"All that matters is that we got out of this okay," he said looking into the water.

"I think I should go how, leave this one to you." She said looking at the smoke from the fire, covering the city. Her body becoming cold when it touched the air.

"You know I can't let you do that," he said as she turned around shocked.

"Why's that?"

"I'm the one with the superhero degree. And rule 14 says that you never leave your partner."

"They are right about you Robin."

"You're not Batman. He'd be interrogating me like he was Harvey Dent up here."

"Yeah, well I figure that if I stay alone with my thoughts I might go crazy and think I was a bat."

"Is that what it's like? With him?" she said shivering.

"He talks to me more than you but it's all business."

"You sound like an angry house wife."

"I don't know how to cook and I'm pretty messy in person."

"Uh-huh.what are you like.in person?"

"Typical guy I guess.maybe more tired than most." He winked.

"It's none of my business but do you have a."

"No." he paused looking at her gloved hand right by his. "You?"



"There was a guy, but no commitment ever came."

"Oh, that's a shame. I just don't see myself being in anything. This world or the one down there. I'm tired of telling my friends secrets, I can't fall - have a girlfriend if I keep this from her."

"I know what you mean, it's like you find someone and want to tell them everything but when you think of who we are - in ordinary terms - it just seems too complicated."

" You know what I've been trying to figure out these last few days?"

"What?"

"Why we found the Batmobile by the docks."

"Oh.I.I don't know."

"He told me to take the bank robbery while he would go to the muesem when we were on the Wayne Tech building up on 50th street."

"Yeah."

"The docks are miles away from the museum and the hideout that we were at last night."

"We searched the area for him all night and you said that there wasn't any tampering with it."

"But that doesn't mean that he wasn't once there." He showed her the remote to the Batwing. "They probably destroyed his belt so we couldn't detect him, but the remote for the Batmobile is different than the one for the Batwing. It was placed inside of his glove for events like this. He placed the Batmobile there as a clue"

"We need to go back there," she said as she got up from the pool.

"Before you know it you'll be graduating Suma Cum Lade."

























"So what do we look for?" Batgirl said looking at the pier where the Batmobile had been the night before.

"Why would they be at the docks?" he asked.

"Gordon," she whispered.

"What?" he asked trying to understand it.

"Well the police figured out that it was Selina Kyle. Usually when they are looking for a criminal they set up blocks at toll booths, airports, and train stations. The Docks are shady and the perfect place for a criminal to go." She said.

"But Selina Kyle, Catwoman, is still in town. So why would she go there?" he asked.

"Well.she could have sent the cat to a seller."

"Catwoman usually keeps the artifacts to herself," he said walking up some boxes in the docks.

"People change," she said following him.

"The guy in the mask, tonight. He's not a regular. Maybe he came into town last night."

"He wasn't in the video, either. Maybe Catwoman was stealing two things last night?" she said.

"Maybe she was getting the cat and taking Batman. You said she wouldn't sell the cat on the market but I'm sure Batman would have a higher price."

"You might be onto something here. It's all adding up. Batman had to have been on a boat sometime, the car wouldn't go near the water. That means he wasn't a casualty in the explosion."

"We need to find out what boats left over the last few days." She said looking at him nervously. "But Robin, we have to find Catwoman if we really want to find him."

"Let's check her apartment. Maybe we'll beat Montoya and Bullock to it - it seems like they had their hands full in that chase." He said.





















On the balcony of the top floor of Gotham Heights Robin looked at Batgirl, "What is it?" she asked looking at his akward face.

"Nothing," he said rolling his fingers on the glass. "I don't think she'd be here but keep your eyes open."

"If you're nervous, I'd understand. Most birds don't like cats." She laughed as he opened the door.

The room, filled with various art pieces involving the feline family looked as normal as expected.

Batgirl looked at the memos on Selina's work desk.

"She was planning a trip this Sunday." She said scratching her head.

"We'll find out when and where it is. She's not the best, but can become a good enough master of disguise."

"Well I don't think we could walk in the airport wearing this, Robin." She said.

"We can't really go there as civilians, can we?" he said trying to laugh the awkwardness off.

"Not unless we."

"This Mr. X must have some power on Selina," he sighed.

"Why is that?" she said as she watched Robin look through the kitchen cabinets.

"She hasn't fed the cats."

He was right, the cats rushed over to the food once he opened the bags.

"I guess cats do have those few months where they aren't the same." She raised an eyebrow.

The two searched the room and hacked into her safe. No sign of left over clues. No sign of the cat. No sign of Batman.

"It's almost daylight, let's get some sleep and see if the GCPD faithful can get anything done in the short time between."

"About the airport, Robin. If you are willing. We could go as civilians."

"It's not that I don't trust you, Batgirl. Doing that makes everything, complicated. I say we call Gordon and track that flight. Right now the docks and that carry our only leads. You're a good crime-fighter, It would- it would have been hard to do this alone." He said rubbing her arms as he turned away.

"Robin, you never have bothered finding out who I really am. Does it not matter to you?" she spat out, turning red thinking that she became a whinny girl.

"Well, you never tried finding out who I am. Guess we're the same. Too lazy to actually do it." He said.

"Can I. call you.or something?" she said.

He reached for his belt and took out a small tube the size of his palm.

"This is a communicator to the Batcave. If you find anything out before I do, press the green button and speak in it. I'll.I'll sleep there tonight." He said.

"Take care," he said as he jumped off the roof and into the cockpit.













Barbara woke up and looked at her wide eyed teddy bear, Pookie. She heard her father talking on the balcony.

"Guess Batman's Back?" she told her bear.

Yawning out of the room as if she was going to get a glass of water she saw Robin talking to Jim.

"This is just really hard for me to take in? Are you sure?" she heard him say.

She moved a strand of her hair away from her green eyes to meet the masked man.

"oh my, he set me up. That wasn't a communicater it was a tracking device."

"Miss Gordon," Robin said sternly.

"Daddy what time is it?" she asked as her heart was racing at a million miles per hour.

"It's almost 4:30, go back to sleep. Robin's just telling me about Selina Kyle's newest activity."

"Oh, have you had any luck with the case?" she said pretending to pretend to be interested.

"Nothing yet," Gordon said as he turned to Batman's sidekick. "go to sleep, honey. You got that big date you were talking about tomorrow."

Robin's armes folded. "I'm sorry for bothering you -and your family - Commisioner. Tell your squad to be careful tomorrow. People aren't what they seem to be these days."

Jim looked down at his note and by the time he looked up the Yellow Caped hero had dissapeared.

"One day I'll have a video to see how you do that." He said looking below his balcony where there was no one to be found.

"So did you find out anything new?" she said realizing that the communicator was feet away in the closet.

"Selina might have a date at the Gotham International Airport, tomorrow. We're sending some of our undercover unit down there to scout it out. Other than that there isn't much," he said as he got a glass of water with her.

"How was your night, pumpkin?"

"Just did a lot of work."

"Whose the date that you have tomorrow?" he said trying to sound like he was hip.

"I couldn't ask the guy at the last minute. Things are just so busy in my life lately, you know how that is." She said as she sipped her water.

"Guess there's a world of time out there, but as hard as it is for me to lose my little girl I want to see her happy."

"I'm happy, dad." She said giving him a light punch on the arm.

"It's just that I'm young and looking for so much in a guy that it's almost like I need to find two." eating her words once she saw her fathers look. "don't think I've turned evil dad, I'm all or nothing girl when it comes to guys."

"What about Dick Grayson? Reminds me of the old chip off the old block." He said cleaning his glasses.

"Dick's just.really too bust in his life too, I guess."

"I know that you have a lot of stuff important going on in your life, Barbara, but if you stop yourself from finding something right you might regret it forever. I still haven't wished that I never took that night off of work to meet your mother." She hugged the aging officer and kissed him on the cheek.

"Well what I'm really keeping myself from now is sleep, dad. I'll talk to you tomorrow. Goodnight"

"Goodnight, hun."

































"Hey Grayson? Are you there?" Barbara said. Dick held the phone to his ear while laying in bed, trying to find the clock.

"Yeah, Babs, is something wrong?" he said.

"Well yeah, I guess I am right when I say that you aren't a morning person. It's 10:30 and you haven't woke up."

"What made you decide to interrupt me from my beauty sleep?"

"You were becoming too much of a pretty boy."

"If you don't get to the point my eyes will fall shut."

"You're lucky I'm the Commissioner's daughter."

"Why's that?"

"This might sound crazy, but I found the best way to get an A on our report."

"Which is?"

"Being there when the crime is solved. I overheard dad talking this morning, it seems that Selina Kyle did steal the cat and is planning on taking a flight out of town in a matter of hours. It's not a crime to be at the airport, is it?`

"Sounds dangerous."

"So you're in?"

"Yes." He smiled. Making his way to the bathroom he paused. "Um, Babs. You don't have any plans for today do you?"

"After the airport, I probably should get going. I'm supposed to meet that guy." She said.

"Oh, well I won't stop you. What's his name, maybe I know him." There was a long pause.

"Rob-ert, doubt you know him. He's the dark and mysterious type."

"Uh, so you two are going on a date?"

"Something like that."

"I see. Well I'm going to shower, now. We should probably meet there early, I have a lot of notes finished for the report. We can go over them, together."

"That sounds like a plan, Kyle's flight is at 7 so maybe if we get there at 4 we could get something to eat."

"Eat? I thought you were going on a date?"

"Oh, we're just going to talk about crime all night. Maybe over a cup of coffee."

"Crime? The guy just talks about crime when he's with you. I have got to meet this guy."

"Well not just.crime.we tend to start off talking about that and it leads to other stuff."

"That's probably too much for me to know," he said.

"Probably, Dick. Get a shower - you probably need one after doing what ever you did during and after that dinner last night."

"What d" he remembered what he told her, "What is that suppsossed to mean?"

"Well whose the girl you and Alfred were talking about on the phone. The one you needed a new suit for?"

"Oh," he laughed. "That was Leslie Thompkins. My date."

There was a long pause as Barbara tried not to laugh at her stupidity.

" Geesh Grayson, she's a nice lady but I don't see it working out between you two."

"Leslie is like a grandmother to me"

"Now THIS is telling me more than I need to know."

They both laughed.

"I'll see you at four."

"Four it is."

"Later Barbara."

"Oh, and Dick. "

"Yes."

"Shower, because I do hate the smell of moth balls."

"You know, you're right, Miss Gordon?"

"How's that?" she said in amidst of unbearable laughter.

"You are lucky that you are the Commissioner's Daughter."

















A cloud of bats shattered through the caverns, as Robin sat away typing.

"Five shipping boats were at that dock between the time Batman was kidnapped and the time we got there."

"You don't expect that he was part of the explosion last night?" Alfred said bringing him soup along with the morning paper.

Robin flipped through the pages and found the story on the explosion at the warehouse.

"No bodies were found. " he looked at the Butler who was obviously trying to keep his composure. "Gordon would have contacted us about anything he wouldn't release to the press but Catwoman and this new guy, they seem too smart to know that it takes a lot more than blowing up a building to kill Batman."

"I hope you're right, sir." He said as he watched him read other headlines in the paper. "How did you escape last night?"

"Oh, well." he said shyly. "Batgirl and I were both trapped in the dark and she pointed out that our only way out was through the skylight and onto the batwing."

"You seem to have more faith in the Batgirl than Master Bruce."

"She deserves a chance. We're volunteers out there and could use as much help as we could."

"I presume you're right, but is that really your reason?" Alfred said, raising an eyebrow.

"Sure it is." He said tapping his fingers on the table.

"I guess my intuition is getting old these days. I just presumed that you two had a lot of common which might lead towards a."

"A Bruce like relationship."

"Do you have to see it that way, sir? This Batgirl seems to be on our side, which is something very uncommon with Master Bruce's relationships."

"I guess."

"Not to put this on you," Alfred said. "but as of now you are in charge. Should something happen which leads to Master Bruce not returning, you must make the decisions. I am not talking about attraction here but more or less good policy. If you are going to trust her with your life and mission, then you must trust her to hold other facts that are of lesser importance."

"But Alfred.should we get together and have it not work out, then we're not only risking our social lives but the stability of a partnership and our mission."

"Do you want her to stay and become part of this team?"

"I - I guess."

"I know that this is not the easiest job in both of your worlds. Should Bruce be gone, you will need someone to motivate you, someone to relate to."



"I just need to figure out who I am before I do anything like this. Am I Robin or am I Dick. That's a completely different conversation that we have to have in the future. Right now I have to get going."

"Good luck, sir."

As he stepped up the stairs he hear a loud voice on the intercom.

"Hey Boy Blunder you're probably sleeping like a vampire bat right now but."

"Alfred press the talk button." Alfred pressed a button that he was accustomed to using on the computer.

"No, I don't get as much sleep as you think."

"Sure fooled me."

"I guess this communicator isn't really something you got out of the cereal box, is it?"

"No, it's one of the few gadgets we don't get from there."

Alfred watched the young ward, as he began to make his way up the stairs. They needed the privacy.

"Listen I was thinking that we could meet at the docks, again - around 9 or so?"

"Well I guess I'm going to have to cancel my date wither Wonder Girl."

"Oh.."

"You know you just broke a crime fighting rule there?"

"Which is?"

"Never become that gullible."

"You bastard."

"I've found a few things that are interesting with the boats. I guess I'll tell you about it later."

" Sounds like a plan."





















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