The Road to Recovery


After a serious injury, Robin is learning that the road to recovery is not always an easy path. Especially when you have a mercenary determined to destroy everything you hold dear.

Action / Drama
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The Road to Recovery

Chapter 1: Set 1

There was a reason Batman never allowed Meta humans into Gotham. The more of a challenge the villains came across the more dangerous and crazy they became. Having the Batman alone in the city had proven that when the likes of Joker and the Riddler had shown their faces. But, like cutting the head of a hydra, the more Villains Batman defeated the more they seemed to bleed out of Gotham's shadows. But there was also a reason he never allowed Young Justice to work in his city. The villains within the darkness here were far different from anything else they had encountered and Batman, though cold and heartless on the outside, never wanted his young team to come into harm's way when it came to these creeps. This concern was only confirmed on the one occasion he ignored that rule.

It was snowing hard, Robin found himself shivering despite the thermal layering in his suit. There had been a mass kidnapping of school children who were on a trip to Gotham Park. Robin had convinced Batman to let the Team take the mission. Batman would be there in the distance should they need help but as far as they could see this was the work of an everyday criminal rather than a Gotham special. The mission was a success so far, they had found the children tied up by the river surrounded by guards in balaclavas holding guns. The young heroes took them down, freed the children and were now supervising as they were removed from the park and the snow, back to their worried parents.

"Any idea if there was a ring leader?" asked Artemis over the mind link.
"No idea" said Robin "It seems pretty low standard so I think these guys might be pretty much the intelligence of the operation." He saw the archer crack a smile at this.
"Well that's probably a good thing" said Kaldur "I'm not sure how we would have fared if this was a plan devised by one of Gotham's darker villains" he looked over his team mates. All seemed fairly pleased the mission did not escalate in danger; Super Boy however was looking out at the water with a frown.
"What's wrong Supes?" Thought Robin tilting his head to the side slightly when he saw the clone shrug. Connor's eyes still didn't leave the dark churning murk.
"I dunno, it might just be the snow messing up my hearing but I think something up with the water." Robin turned to look; due to the weather the water was pretty murky and had a strong current but other than that there was nothing unusual about it.
"I think it might just be the snow Supes" Robin smiled. The teams eyes soon widened however as something erupted from the water, its huge mouth clamping around their youngest members leg and pulling him down into the freezing waters.
"Robin!" screamed M'gann as they all ran over to the bank where moments before Robin had been stood. They could see splashing in the water as the creature thrashed around. Aqualad took a run at the water and dived after his friend. After a few moments of stillness the Atlantian head broke the surface.
"Call Batman!" he yelled before diving back under.
"Kid Flash to Batman Kid Flash to Batman!"
"What's going on down there?"
"Something's got Rob!" The line went dead at that point and Wally knew he was on his way. Meanwhile the rest of the team could do nothing but watch the water. Finally their leader spoke through the mind link.
"Miss Martian the creature is coming to the surface, try and hold it." Just as predicted it emerged from the water. M'gann used her telekinesis to freeze the being before she froze herself in shock. The creature they had captured was a crocodile. In human clothing.

"Miss Martian knock him out" Batman strode purposefully over to them "Where's Robin?" Kaldur broke through the water just as Miss M caused Killer Croc to lose consciousness. The Atlantian walked up the bank carefully dragging the boy wonder by his cape. Batman ran down his eyes widened at how his son was being handled.
"It was the only way I could think of moving him without touching any of his wounds. You can see hardly anything down there." But now they were up on the surface Aqualad could take in the sight of the boy. He had a gash on his head from where he had hit the bank as he was pulled. His left arm was dislocated the other wrist swollen, possibly fractured, mostly likely from when the beast had gone into a death role. But worst was his left leg where the jaws had locked on. The bone looked to be intact but the teeth marks went right down through skin and muscle. Even the bullet proof Kevlar that made up Robin's suit had been torn to pieces over the wound.
"Batman to Watch Tower. I need a beam to take myself and Robin up. Robin is critically injured. I repeat critically injured. Send back up to remove the bastard that did this". After a few moments there was a light then Batman and his partner were gone leaving the team waiting with an unconscious half human half reptile for the league, not knowing if their friend was going to live or die.

"Get him on a cart" said Dinah when she saw the two bats. Batman laid his son down and helped the female hero to push him to the med bay to meet Martian Manhunter.
"What happened?" asked J'ohn when they entered.
"Killer Croc, from what Aqualad told me he grabbed hold of his leg, dragged him under and went into a death roll." Flash, who had come in just after them, noticed that Batman's voice had started to rise slightly in pitch and his hands had the shadow of a tremor as he pealed away Robin's mask.
"Was he conscious when he was pulled from the water" asked Dinah as she lifted Robin's eye lid with a torch in hand.
"No and he didn't regain consciousness at an point" they went to checking the rest of the boys injuries and trying to stop the bleeding from his leg.
"His wrist in fractured and the other shoulder dislocated" said Flash quickly checking over the upper half, he could already see the bruises beginning to form over the boys pale skin.
"Those can wait; we need to stop his leg bleeding! Get him into surgery!" Cried Dinah as the bloody started to pool and spill over the table, despite the gauze being pushing onto the wound. She pushed the Dark Knight out of the way, Batman could do nothing but watch as they wheeled his son away.

Chapter 2: Set 1

"We're losing him!" cried Black Canary looking up at screen to see the flat line screaming at her.
"Charging" said Flash holding the paddles over the young boy's chest "Clear" his chest arched itself off the table but his heart did nothing, the piercing tone of the machine continued to fill the room. "Charging" he tried again praying all the while "Clear!" There was a moment's pause, they held their breath, but finally there was a beat.
"He's back." Dinah took her fingers away from Robin's neck. "Get his leg into a stable condition. We'll work out what to do with it when were certain he's not going to die on the table."

Outside in the waiting room Wally was getting worried. Robin had been in surgery for nearly four hours; Batman had gone from pacing around the waiting room too sitting statue still, after Robin flat lined he started to ever so slightly rock. You wouldn't have noticed unless you had been sat with him through all of the stages and Wally hadn't moved since they had got back from the mission. Finally Flash came out, Bats ceased his rocking and stood to meet him.
"He's stable." said Flash before he could even ask. The speedster looked exhausted. "We think the shock of the incident is what caused him to flat line. But most of his injuries will heal in time."
"Most?" Batman frowned deeply beneath his mask which deepened further when Flash looked saddened by the question.
"His leg is seriously damaged Bruce. We managed to stop the bleeding so it's not a threat to his life anymore but we are going to have to do something with it if we ever want to get him walking again". Batman nodded, not even scolding Barry for calling him Bruce in front of his nephew. "We've got him on a morphine drip but he's still going to be in a lot of pain when he wakes up." Again Batman nodded, not that he would admit it, he didn't completely trust his voice to say in character. He followed Flash into the room. Wally stayed where he was thinking he would not be wanted. But Batman turned back to look at him, nodding his head in the direction they were going, before continuing. Shocked at the fact Bats was allowing him to see Robin at the same time as him Wally followed silently.

Robin still hadn't woken up; he was attached to all sorts of machines that were beeping away telling the world that, for now, the Boy Wonder was still alive. His arm had been put back into its socket and taped to support it, his wrist had been casted, the gash on his head had gauze taped to it. The leg wound was covered in thick bandages held firmly in a vice. Batman could feel his hands shaking and so wrapped his cape around him to stop the others seeing. Wally walked round the side of the bed and gently took hold of his best friend's hand.
"He'll be alright. Won't he Uncle Barry?" Wally looked up at Barry expecting to see reassurance but instead he was met with doubt.
"Richard Grayson will live Wally. But until we can find a way of fixing his leg he won't be able to walk. That will hit him hard so I can't say yet if he'll be alright or not." said Flash sadly. "As for Robin, there's no way he'll be able to cope with this life style again. Robin's dead". There were a few minutes silence in the room before Wally noticed movement against his hand, Dick's thumb was twitching.
"His thumbs twitching I think he's waking up." Dinah checked his vitals but found that Dick was still deep in slumber.
"I don't think he's waking up" said Bats looking at his son's uninjured leg "His legs twitching too." He looked over to John who floated over to the bed. He hovered his hand over Dicks head.
"I believe it is his head injury it has caused pressure on his brain causing the twitch." He closed his eyes and placed his hands firmly on Dick's head, after a few moments, the twitching stopped and J'ohn opened his eyes. "I have relieved the pressure. He should also wake very shortly as I believe it was the pressure that was keeping him unconscious". As if on cue Dick's eyes fluttered open.
"Dick?" Batman leaned over him "Can you hear me?" Dick's face scrunched up and he groaned.
"Dad?" he scrunched up his eyes tighter. "It hurts." Those two words almost ripped Bruce's heart in two. He was powerless to do anything, as one of the most powerful men in the world he hated feeling powerless.
"I know son, were going to try and make it stop." He turned to Dinah "Can we give him any other pain killers?" Dinah looked to Barry, he disappeared and came back with another drip which he attached. Almost immediately Dick relaxed his face and his muscles.
"What happened?" he asked when he wasn't in as much pain, his eyes drifting up to Bruce.
"Killer Croc got a hold of your leg and took you into a death rolled. You're lucky he isn't an actual crocodile or you would have lost your leg." Dick seems to process this information for a minute before sighing.
"I remember being pulled under. It took me a few seconds before I realised what he was going to do. I wrapped myself around his head to make sure there was no fiction on my leg when he rolled. I remember seeing Kaldur then suddenly feeling a lot of pain. I must have blacked out." His eyes closed and his breathing deepened.
"You ok kid?" asked Barry as his eyes flickered up to the heart monitor. It still looked steady.
"Yeh I'm just feeling really tired." Dick slurred 'A little bit dizzy.'
"That will be the morphine" said Dinah "Let me know if you start to feel any worse ok?" he nodded before drifting easily off to sleep. Once happy that Dick was comfortable they all left him to sleep with Wally stationed loyally by his side.

Once in the corridor, away from Dick and Wally's ear shot, Dinah rounded on Batman. "What I want to know is why the hell the Croc was there!" she began, though honestly, not entirely sure who to throw her anger towards. "You checked that mission yourself Bruce before you let the kids go. Not one of the usual whackos were involved."
"I don't think he was involved in the kidnapping" said Batman sounding more deflated than stern now. "I think he was just taking advantage of a situation". He could tell Dinah wanted to either hit something, if they were lucky, or scream. She thought of Richard like her nephew and the fact that he was hurt was killing her.
"The next point of focus is what we are going to do with his leg?" She said in an attempt to direct her anger onto something productive.
"I've been looking at the x-rays we took and I think I have an idea." said Flash pacing quickly around them, his feet vibrating as he walked. In the back of her mind, Dinah was glad they were standing on re-enforced steel rather than wood. "If we can put plates over the damaged bone that will make it strong enough for him to walk on. The flesh we can graft."

They took some time going over Flash's plan, working out the how's and the what ifs. Batman was determined to be involved to make sure Dick got the best care. But knowing it was Dick they were all discussing made Bruce's stomach clench.
"I can't see the pain ever really going away though" said Barry once they had drawn up a plan. "He'll most likely be on pain medication for the rest of his life." They turned to Bruce for his opinion; at the end of the day it was his call.
"I think he can live with that as long as he can walk again. Do it".


It took a few days for the plates to be made. In that time Dick's pain had become unbearable, he had spent the last 12 hours shaking in pain despite the high levels of morphine running through his veins. When Bruce had explained the plan to him Dick had been apprehensive, not liking the sound of having metal drilled into his bones. But as the hours passed the pain grew and now he was desperate for any kind of reprieve.

"You're going to be ok Chum." said Bruce kindly, rubbing his thumb over his sons hand. Dick nodded whilst taking a shaky intake of breath.
"Will it make the pain go away?"
"It will make it better" Bruce said after a quick pause, he didn't want to lie to him so he told him a half truth. The pain would get better…with time. "You ready?" After a few moments the boy nodded and Batman placed an oxygen mask over his mouth and nose.
"Promise you'll be there when I wake up?" said Dick, his voice muffled by the mask and the gas.
"I promise. Now count back from ten." Bruce watched as his son counted from ten down to eight before he lost consciousness again. Then it was a case of praying the surgery was a success.

Chapter 3: Set 1

Roy could honestly say he had never run so fast. By the time he got to the mountain he had run down all five flights of stairs from his apartment, the lift was broken, ran down two blocks to the nearest zeta beam through the snow while only wearing a T-shirt because Jade had hidden his coats. He was knackered but he still kept running, he couldn't stop until he saw him. He had to know that he was alright! Finally he ran into a familiar red head.
"Wally! Where is he? Is he ok? Why didn't anyone tell me sooner?" Wally raised his hands to silence the elder.
"Dude slow down, one question at a time." Roy apologised closed his eyes and took a deep breath before looking back at Wally. "He's in recovery. The surgery went well but I think it will be a while before he's feeling the aster again. As for your last question, Dude I've been ringing you all day where have you been?" Roy blushed, the truth was he had been with Jade all-day but he couldn't very well tell Wally that he was dating a dangerous villain. One that they had fought on many occasions.
"I was busy." he muttered with his eyes down cast. The younger just shrugged, too preoccupied to notice his friends odd behaviour.
"Well you're here now. Bats want us to go and see him. I think the kids pretty down, he's worried Dick might hit rock bottom". Roy followed Wally down the corridor, through a pair of double doors into a small sterile room.

Other than the scary looking equipment in the corner the room was filled with only two chairs and one bed which was currently occupied by a small figure who was facing the wall at present.
"Dick? Roy's here." said Wally gently, walking slowly over to the bed, taking one of the seats. Roy followed suit taking the remaining one.
"Hey." said Dick weakly not turning to face them. Wally turned to look at the archer with a concerned frown. Roy could tell the speeder was worried about the boy they considered their little brother.
"Please look at us Dick" Wally tried again after a few moments of awkward silence. Finally Dick turned his head to face them and Roy's heart squeezed. The poor boy looked so ill, his face was pale and clammy with bags under his eyes from where he hadn't been able to sleep in days from the pain. His eyes were red from tears and his cheeks were flushed with fever.
"Hey Kid." said Roy leaning forward and rubbing the younger's arm gently "How you feeling?" It was a stupid question to ask and Roy knew it, but he didn't know what else to say.
"Like crap to be honest" Dick's voice broke at the end of his sentence and a tear fell from his eyes. He had given up trying to contain then hours ago. Both older boys stood immediately and stepped forward in panic.
"Are you alright, are you in pain?" Dick shook his head, causing his tears to drip from his chin onto his collarbone.
"No the pains alright. I've got so many drugs in me I swear if I could move I would rattle!"
"Then what's up Little Bird?" Roy sat on the edge of the bed while Wally ran round and sat on the other side.
"I'm not going to be able to be Robin anymore." It was more a statement than a question. The red heads looked at each other not knowing what to say. It was Roy who braved an answer first, being careful about how he worded his response.
"I think we need to focus on getting you better before we make any of those decisions." Wally nodded at Roy's statement but Dick sighed deeply, looking away from them again.
"That's what Bruce says."
"Well Dude even if you're not in the field it's not like you won't still be able to help us! I don't know where we would be without your computer skills!" Wally put his face in Dick's line of sight and the blue eyed boy shrugged at him.
"I guess." he whispered but his eyes were still starting to glass over with tears. Dick was really getting annoyed with the amount he was crying; he blamed the drugs he was on. But the other two boys didn't seem alarmed at his tears this time around.

"Come here." Roy gently wrapped his arms around him, giving room for Dick to rest his head on his chest. Wally ran his hand through the younger's hair, knowing how it calmed him. Finally after a while, after Dick had cried out all his frustrations, he fell asleep and the two heroes watched over him. What they didn't know was that they were also being watched.

Batman sighed as he looked at the screen; he knew how important being Robin was to Dick, he knew when he told him that had to stop the kid was going to be heartbroken.
"So what are we going to do?" asked Wonder Woman staring at the Bat. She had known Bruce for a while; both sides of him. She knew he was worried about his son, but she also knew another part of him was trying to sort out everything in their vigilante lives.
"When he's a bit more stable I'll take him home to start his rehab. Hopefully get him walking with crutches in a couple of months". Diana waited knowing this was Bruce talking, next was Batman. "As for Robin. The team can't do without him so I'll have to have Jason step in; whether that is permanent or not depends on how well Dick recovers".
"But you know the chances of him recovering that much are…"
"Slim...I know" Batman interrupted her "But as long as there is a chance I think Dick might get through this". Diana sighed wanting to change the subject, knowing if she countered now it would inevitably end in a fight and that was not what Bruce needed right now.
"What about the mission they were on? Did they get the kids to safety?"
"All the children were far enough away from the water to not be involved. The police were there as well so the Commissioner made sure they all got to safety."
"So where's the Croc now?"
"Arkham. Though I'd love to see him in a wooden box under the dirt." He growled. Diana reached forward and put her hand on his clenched fist, meeting his glare with her calming gaze.
"Robin wouldn't want that. And you know he doesn't want to hear you say it. He needs you to be strong for him Bruce. This next year isn't going to be easy, but it will get better I promise." Bruce relaxed and took her hand.
"I hope you're right."

Chapter 4: Set 1

Jason looked at himself in the mirror. The Kevlar tight against his skin, the metal R on his chest reflecting the dim lights of the Bat Cave. Tonight was his first patrol as the new Robin; part of him was ecstatic another part pitied his brother. Dick had come home a week ago and hadn't moved from his room since. He wasn't eating and his sleep was now plagued by new dreams of scaled monsters as well as falling angels. Even from down the hall Jason could hear him screaming at night even worse than before.

"Are you ready Jason?" Batman was behind him looking slightly more depressed than usual. It was true Batman needed to have a Robin but if he had the choice Jason knew Bruce would rather have Golden Boy Richard Grayson. That fact burned him but he mentally shook himself to rid himself of those thoughts. This was his job now; Dick had blown it when he let himself get captured. He would make sure that never happened to him.
"Yeh. I'm ready" He followed his adoptive father and mentor to the car.
"Be careful Master Batman and good luck Master Robin." said the old Butler eyeing the young boy nervously, though he would not let that show.
"Thanks Alfie." smiled Robin.
"Alfred." said Batman drawing the old man's attention. "See if you can get him to eat something. If not I'll have to call Leslie in the morning."
"I shall try of course. However I feel young Master Dick maybe struggling." Batman nodded in agreement before closing the hood and driving away.

After the head lights had disappeared into the blanket of darkness Alfred made his way up the stair case to the house. As he passed the portrait of the Grayson's he paused. "I do wonder sometimes whether you would thank or condone us for what we have done to your son." he sighed to himself continuing up the stairs. "Master Dick, I came to enquire what you would like for your dinner." The old man was once again saddened at the lost look the boy before him had on his face, he stared unseeing at the scarred mess that was his left leg.
"I'm not very hungry, but thank you Alfred." Dick didn't look up as he replied. Alfred couldn't take it anymore, he walked over and slowly sat on the bed next to the boy he come to see as his grandson.
"Master Dick you must eat something, you haven't eaten in three days." Dick shrugged with one shoulder since the other was still sore.
"I'm not hungry." Change of tactic.
"Your Father is going to call Dr Tompkins if I cannot get you to eat anything tonight. You've only just got off all the IV's do you really wish to be put on another one?" Dick still didn't take his eyes away from his leg but he gently shook his head. "Then if I bring something up you will eat it?" Silence. Alfred was getting frustrated. Not particularly at the boy but the fact that he couldn't tell what he was thinking. "Master Richard please talk to me. Other than clearly the obvious what is on your mind that is making you act like this?" He didn't expect the boy to answer. Any other time someone had spoken to him he had avoided conversation.
"I feel so lost." He choked. Mentally Dick kicked himself, he was always crying these days and he couldn't even figure out why most of the time.
"Lost in what way Master Dick?" The eyes closed which was the first bit of movement Alfred had seen since entering the room.
"I don't know who I am anymore. It sounds stupid but for so long I've spent half my time as Dick Grayson the other half as Robin. Now suddenly my little brother is walking around as one half of me and the other me has been grounded. I feel empty." Alfred sat up straighter. It was not often he spoke directly out of turn with his masters but in this case he thought it would be best.
"If I may Master Dick, the way I see it you are stopping yourself from regaining any form of the life you had before by acting the way you are?" A frown appeared on his young boys face but he still didn't look up. "For instance until you eat Doctor Tompkins is not going to start your rehab. Without the rehab you are never going to be able to walk again and if you are unable to walk then not only has the first Robin died but the last Grayson also. I do not believe the son of John and Mary Grayson would let his soul be extinguished without even putting up a fight." The bright blue eyes finally lifted to meet the old grey ones. For a moment he said nothing and then finally, for the first time since the incident, Dick smiled.
"Thanks Alfie" The old man nodded.
"It was no problem Master Dick. I'll go and make you some dinner." He got off the bed and headed for the door, before leaving he said "My father once said to me that there is a time for everything. I believe now is the time for Richard Grayson. But who knows maybe one day it will be time for something completely new".


Jason's teeth started to chatter against the cold December air. They were stood on a roof top surveying the Bank below them. There had been some suspicious looking men going in circles around the block, where building was situated, for about an hour. So far this was the only action they had seen tonight. The new Robin was disappointed; he thought patrol was maybe going to be a bit more fun.
"Are we allowed to talk while were up here?" he asked eyeing the big bad Bat. Without turning to face his middle child and new sidekick Batman nodded briefly.
"As long as your quiet about it and don't give away our position" Jason returned the nod with one of his own then turned to look back down at the Bank. "So what did you want to talk about?" Even though he couldn't see it, Jason knew Bruce had raised an eyebrow at him.
"I was just wondering. You know you said me stepping in for the Robin gig was only permanent if D doesn't recover. Well if he does then will I still be able to patrol, even if it's under a different name?" Batman dropped his head taking his eyes off the street below.
"Robin, I didn't want to say this in front of your brother because I think the motivation might help to speed his rehab". The next words out of his mentor's mouth made Jason's blood run cold. "He's not going to recover."

Chapter 5: Set 2

The rehab was intense and it was painful. Dick had been in agony before but at least when you're being tortured you knew it would end. Either he would die or Batman would save him. But he was putting himself through this pain and as far as he could see there was no end to it. For the first few months, after each rehab session, Dick was in so much pain he couldn't move for the rest of the day. It gradually got better as time passed and his muscles grew stronger. At one stage he relapsed, after he took a fall on his bad leg, knocking himself back a good few weeks. But finally after six months, he was there, he was walking on his own again. Alfred and Bruce were always nagging him for not using his crutches but they didn't understand how good it felt to have the simple freedom of walking! That freedom had blown away some of his sorrows. Having Wally and Roy coming over also did a pretty good job of that.

"Good Afternoon Master Wallace, Master Roy. I believe Master Dick is upstairs." The two red heads entered the large entry hall of the house. Alfred was about to walk up the stairs to fetch his young charge but found that the boy was already downstairs waiting. "And quite how did you get down stairs Master Richard?" Alfred and Bruce were both on edge. Dick was feeling better and was becoming more lively. He moved around the house a lot more and had adapted to doing things without the use of both his legs. Unfortunately some adaptations were not helping his recovery. For example, hoping on one leg down the stairs rather than carefully walking.
"I walked." said Dick scratching the side of his face not looking the old man in the eye.
"No he didn't." All looked as the thirteen year old came up behind the fifteen year old. "He did his weird hoppy thing. Almost fell too." So the last bit was a lie but Jason just loved to stir the big pot of trouble his brother was currently sat in.
"No I didn't you little." Dick reached out to hit his brother only to lose his balance and tumble. Lucky for him one of his best friends was the fastest boy alive. Wally sped forward, catching his best friend before he became too horizontal.
"Thanks Wally." said Dick as he straightened up, his cheeks pink with embarrassment.
"Dude are you trying to give us all heart attacks" they both looked to Alfred who was using his own impressive Batglare.
"Master Wallace is quite right. I do not think Master Bruce would be very happy if he came home from work to find you've been knocked back another few weeks in rehab." Now Dick frowned. He was tired of being treated like a china doll.
"I'm fine!" he cried "Seriously you guys worry too much." He walked…well limped into the living room followed by his friends.

A few hours later Bruce returned from work. That was one good thing about your son having 'a freak accident while skiing in the Alps and breaking his leg', he could leave early without having to make up too much of an excuse. Speaking of sons he saw his youngest sat on the stairs eavesdropping on the three in the living room.
"What's up Timmy?" he asked sitting next to him.
"Dick's planning a trip out with his friends. They are currently plotting how to persuade you." the eleven year old dead paned.
"Are they now?" Bruce stood and walked into the next room "What's this I hear about plots to escape." the smile on his face told Dick that he wasn't mad.
"Please Dad. I haven't seen the team in forever nor have I been outside!" Dick looked at him with his deep blue eyes and a slight pout.
"Aren't you a little old to be giving the puppy dog eyes?" Bruce asked raising an eye brow.
"That depends" said Dick smiling "Is it working?" Bruce sighed and put his hands in his pockets. Even if he had been against letting Dick leave for the afternoon, he could rarely say no when Dick pulled that face.
"Fine you twisted my arm. You can go out with your friends on two conditions". All three were nodding enthusiastically. "One. You stay in Happy Harbour."
"Done. What's the next one?" Bruce smirked.
"You have to not only take your crutches but use them! And I'll have Roy reporting back to me." Dick pulled a face but in the end agreed.


A few miles away at Mount Justice the Team was bored laying around the TV room while Super Boy watched Static. Since Robin had been injured their missions had become few and far between.
"Recognising Red Arrow B-06. Kid Flash B-02, Unknown B-01" They all looked up at the strange announcement. None of them had ever heard the computer announce an unknown person into the cave. If it was someone temporarily placed into the system it would have said Guest. Unknown suggested the name had been deleted?
"Unknown?" asked Artemis, voicing what they all had on their mind.
"That's just harsh." The familiar voice reached their ears and they all looked to see a ebony haired boy on crutches along with the two familiar red heads.

Chapter 6: Set 2

"Robin!" The girls ran forward to greet him, Kaldur and Connor took a slower approach.
"How are you feeling?" asked M'gann.
"Bit sore but I'm back on my feet…mostly." Kaldur was the last to approach he had seen up close just how badly the boy had been injured and was weary of the fact he was acting so healthy.
"It is good to see you walking again my friend, even if it isn't by yourself just yet." he said indicating to the crutches, this caused the ebony to frown slightly.
"I can walk by myself but Bats is paranoid and has Red here playing babysitter." All eyes fell on Red Arrow who raised his hands in defence.
"What? It's not like you have a choice when Batman tells you to do something." No one could not argue with that.
"So what do you fancy doing?" asked Wally speeding around the room excitedly before returning to his place by Robin's side. "We could play video games, watch a movie, eat! Anything you want". Dick looked sheepish for a moment and Kaldur feared slightly that he was going to ask something foolish, such as if they could spar. He was proved wrong however when the former Boy Wonder asked for something much more innocent.
"Could we maybe do something outside? I've been cooped up for a while." The girls cooed at their youngest members request and suddenly M'gann hugged him. A few of the team took a quick step forward in fear the youngest was hurt, but soon relaxed when they saw he was fine.
"I know lets go to the beach!"Dick smiled at the thought of the beach; during the summer it was their traditional hangout and Dick needed something traditional right now.
"Sounds good to me!"
"Yes!" Wally punched the air "Let's go!"

Thanks to Red Arrow having a car at the mountain, it didn't take long for them to reach the water. Dick could honestly say he hadn't felt this normal in half a year. Led on the sand watching this friends play volleyball he almost felt like he did before the incident. Before everything he had loved about his life had been ripped away. Suddenly there was a body beside him.
"We're going down to the water, you coming?" Dick looked to his side at Roy before shaking his head.
"Na, I'm happy here. Besides, I can't take my crutches to the water" He said with an evil grin. Roy pushed his shoulder slightly making him laugh. After both their giggles had subsided Roy sobered slightly.
"You know we're all just looking out for you right?" Dick nodded, pushing his sunglasses further up his nose.
"I know. It's just frustrating knowing I used to be capable of so much more." Roy rested a hand on the long since healed shoulder "I know, give it some time, you'll find a middle ground." The younger hummed in response and the archer wasn't sure if that meant he agreed with him or not. Looking away from his face, Roy's gaze fell on his companion's leg. The others were all wearing shorts in the heat, it was the first time he had noticed that Dick wasn't. He was wearing long canvas trousers that covered all the flesh of his legs."How's the scarring?" he asked before he could really think.
"It's pretty nasty." Dick's tone told Roy he didn't want to talk about it, all the joking from moments ago was gone and the awkward silence began, luckily, the rest of the team decided to come and see where they had got too.
"Everything alright?" said Connor.
"Yeh of course". The tension was defused again leaving them to enjoy the rest of their day.

As the sun began to set Dick's pain killers started to wear off so they headed back to the cave to relax for the rest of the evening.
"It's good to have you back Rob." said KF lounging on the sofa. It was true their new Robin was alright, but he didn't have the same fun nature as this Robin. And it was his laugh that they had missed.
"Ah, ah, ah KF. I'm 'Unknown' now don't forget." the team laughed though Kaldur looked slightly uncomfortable.
"I shall discuss changing the recognition code with Batman." He said though he was glad that the boy was not taking the changes to hard. He himself was slightly annoyed at the Dark Knight. He understood there was a new Robin however did he think the old who never again come to the mountain? He was distracted as Dick's phone started to buzz.
"I wondered when he would give into temptation and call." Dick smirked "What's up Bats…" his smile dropped "I'll be right there." He hung up. Everyone straightened, something was wrong.
"What's wrong?" asked Artemis, she had never seen Robin...Rob...whatever his name was now, freeze up like this. He took a few moments to choke on his words but he finally got them out.
"Robins missing." Jason was missing.

Chapter 7: Set 2

Sleep was over rated. That's what Dick told everyone who asked him to go to bed. Jason had been missing for nearly a week and so far neither the former Boy Wonder nor the Batman had stopped searching for him.
"Serious Dude, you need some sleep." said Wally watching from a distance as his best friend typed obsessively on the mountains computer.
"I'll go to sleep when I know that when I wake up my little brother will be there to torment me and get me into trouble." He paused for a moment to collect himself but then went back to hacking into security cameras all over Gotham. They had other heroes searching in their respected cities and Batman was out searching himself. Wally shook his head sadly, his friend was just getting his life back on track and then this happens. Suddenly the ex-ninja shot across the desk and grabbed his phone.
"I found him!" Those words got Wally next to him in seconds. "He's at the docks on the north side of Gotham in an old warehouse. The Joker was there a few moments ago but he just left. I'm sending you the co-ordinates now. Hurry!" As Dick hung up he felt his body relax slightly. He had found him; he was going to be fine.
"Now will you got to bed?" asked Wally smiling softly. Dick shook his head; he needed to know his brother was in Batman's company before he could let himself relax completely.

A few miles away Batman was thundering towards the co-ordinates Dick had sent him, rethinking about what had happened on that last mission. They had been hiding behind crates listening in on a group of drugs dealers. Suddenly Robin had run forward taking out most of them before he could react. Afterwards he had asked him what the boy had been thinking.
"Do you think this is a game?" he had shouted at him.
"Yes, life is game." Had been the reply before they had heard a laugh behind them, gas started to fill the room before either could pull out their gas masks. The last thing Batman remembered seeing before he passed out was the sight of his second sidekick being dragged away by a white face in a purple suit. When he awoke there was a Joker card pinned to his chest. It was a stupid amateur mistake and he just hopped Jason wouldn't have to pay for it.
Pushing the memory away Batman looked out of the window to finally see the building come into view. Stopping the Bat mobile he hastily started walking towards the warehouse. He would have run full pelt in order to get to his son but he didn't know where the Joker was or if this was a trap.

Inside the warehouse Jason was in agony. The Joker had beat the crap out of him, there was no one inch of his body that didn't hurt. But the Joker was gone, now was his chance, if he could just move! But his body wasn't responding to his pleas. Was this how Dick felt? How ridiculous, he was in some serious trouble and he was thinking about Golden boys feelings! Stupid. Finally his legs moved, he was able to slowly shift his bound hands over his legs to his front. Good, this was good. Now he just had to get to the door. He tried standing once, twice, but his legs kept giving out.
"Come on Todd" he growled at himself "Grayson would have got out of this by now" he taunted. If he got out of this he would have to tell Dickie Bird that he had been his motivation. Using all of his will power he slide his body towards the door. It seemed to take hours and in all honesty Robin had no idea how long it had taken, he had no idea how long he had been here. He lifted his arm and grasped the handle. Nearly there. He pulled it down, waiting to feel the summer air on his face. Nothing. He pulled again but still nothing happened, it was locked. All his energy spent, he slumped to the cold floor. It was silent in the warehouse apart from his shallow panting...and a quiet beeping? Raising his eyes Robin sighed in acceptance and defeat as the countdown reached 0.

Batman was thrown back by the blast, recovering quickly he ran towards the blaze.
"Robin" he shouted digging through the rubble, thankfully it wasn't long before he came across something that was not stone or wood. "Batman to watchtower!"
"What is it Batman?" came J'ohn voice through the comm link.
"I need a beam, I found Robin, he's injured." he looked down at the damaged body in his arms, the sense of De Ja vu making his gut churn. "Hang in their Jay". The beam came and soon there were people rushing around, taking his son from him. This was the second time he had had to watch one of his sons at deaths door being wheeled away down the sterile white corridor.

Inside the med bay Black canary was once again trying to save a Boy Wonder.
"His BPs dropping." The heart monitor let out the dreaded piercing tone. "Get the paddles." Canary shocked him again and again until Flash put a hand on her arm.
"Dinah stop. He's gone." She paused for a moment un- moving before throwing the paddles to her side and putting her hands to face in despair, her hands gripping at her hair. Flash left the room and found Batman pacing. From the look on his face Bruce knew the outcome before Barry could find the words.
"I'm sorry Bruce, we tried everything but his wounds were too severe." Batman simply nodded before walking away and entering the zeta beam.

Dick was sat on the sofa with Wally when the computer announced Batman arrival. Once the computer had died down the rest of the team also entered the room.
"Did you find him?" the youngest asked standing and walking over as fast as he could, but his father's sombre expression stopped him in his tracks.
"I didn't get there in time" Dick stopped breathing and time seemed to stop. The second Robin was dead. Jason was dead. This little brother was Dead! Dick let out a sob as his mentors arms wrapped around him. Batman knew hugging was out of character but he had to feel this eldest son in his arms otherwise he feared he would disappear forever. He had lost his strongest son; suddenly the fear of losing his broken bird was overwhelming.
"Let's go home" he whispered wrapping his cape around Dick. But Dick didn't hear him, his grief was taking over, putting him on auto pilot.

Chapter 8: Set 2

Tim could feel the silence in the house. The absence of Jason was like a black hole slowly eroding the souls of everyone within. Maybe it was because he had known Jason for the least amount of time, but Tim seemed to be the only one really living in the house any more. Alfred spent all his time floating around the manor cleaning things that had already been cleaned a hundred times that day. That was his way of coping with the grief. Bruce jumped from two extremes. Half the time he would spend locked in his office away from everything and everyone, the other half he was more paranoid about Dick than Tim had ever seen him before. He wouldn't leave the kid alone, it was like he was scared that Dick was a china doll and would shatter into a million pieces at the slightest thing. Although Tim was now starting to wonder if there was some truth to that. Since the day Jason died when Batman and Dick had returned to the manor, the older boy had been in a sort of daze. His eyes were tired, his movement mechanic like he was just going through the motions of life but his mind had stopped working, thinking and dreaming.
As far as the youngest knew, the older had stopped taking his pain medication and was slowly starting to lose the function in his leg he had spent so long working up again. The worst thing was he knew why but couldn't help his brother. Dick blamed himself for Jason's death for some reason and was making sure he was suffering pain just as Jason had.
As for Tim himself; he felt like there was a hole in his heart like there was something missing that could never be replaced. Jason was gone, he was never coming back. But unlike the others he knew life had to go on.

It wasn't until a month after the funeral that Bruce finally went back to work. Bruce Wayne work that is; the Batman work had never ceased. Most of the villains in Arkham were now in body casts and the streets were quieter than they had been in years as the word got round that the big bad bat had become even scarier; you would be crazy to stand in his way.

Dick had finally started talking again, although it was only when directly spoken too, he wouldn't start a conversation or engage in a discussion. Tim couldn't help but think that it must be lonely to live in Dick's world right now; the only people he would really answer were Dr Leslie, who had somehow made him continue his rehab sessions, and Tim himself. Though his answers were always brief.

Tim was sat on Jason's old bed now watching Dick as he was sat at Jay's desk. The desk was cluttered with papers, not homework obviously, Jason had never done homework. Most of them were drawings, dark drawings. Dick was slowing milling through them, the same expressionless look on his face he had had since their brother's death.
"Dick" Tim spoke up after a while, the older merely hummed in response. "Whose going to be with Batman now?" Dick shrugged his expression unchanging "I think he's starting to get a bit reckless out on his own. But…" he paused not really sure if bringing this up with the broken acrobat was the right move. "I don't think I'm ready" he finished quietly. Since Jason's death that had been something that had been playing on his mind. Dick couldn't be Robin so naturally it would fall to him. He had been training for the last year since he was adopted by Bruce but after everything he had seen his brothers go through, Tim didn't feel ready. One day he would take up the name of Robin…just not yet.
"You won't have to Timmy, I'll make sure he doesn't make you." Tim's eyes widened slightly in surprise, that was the most words his brother had made into a sentence in a while and the statement was decisive rather than vague. Dick went back to shifting through the paper, not really paying much attention to the drawings, he just wanted to feel Jay's presence. They sat for quite a while in silence before something caught Dick's attention. It was a file marked "Grayson Back up plan". Curious he opened it and emptied its contents, laying the pages out. They were different designs of costumes; some didn't look much different from the Robin suit but these had "Dismissed" written in large red letters on the top. Moving on to others he noticed the cape was gone but it was still very yellow and red, these too had the red letters over the tops. Finally he came to a sheet marked "Final Design". This suit was black all over with a bird emblazoned on the front. The usual Robin colours were gone and replaced by blue, the cape was still missing but the domino mask remained. Was Jason redesigning the Robin suit? Why? And what did that have to do with him? Another page had a list of names, most crossed out apart from one that had a large red ring around it. And finally there was a note.

You know I'm not good at talking like this so I'll let you read for yourself. Bruce admitted himself that he doesn't think that you will recover. I on the other hand know just how stubborn you are and I know that once day you will want the Robin post back. This I cannot allow, Robin has become a part of me just as it was a part of you. So in order to keep my post safe no matter what I have created this backup plan. A new persona for you. It took me months to perfect so you better like it.
I hope one day we can patrol together and see who really is the best.
Hope you like the name, it suits you.

.P.S. If you ever repeat this letter or mention it I will break your other damn leg!

Dick just stared at it for a moment before the words finally sunk in. a few thoughts entered his fogged over mind first. One: Bruce didn't think he was going to recover. Well could he really blame him? After nearly 8 months of rehab he could still barely move because he was too stubborn to take his pills. Two: Jason believed in him. That was something he hadn't expected. Three: Jason, the little punk, had made a new hero for him to become. Four: His brother was dead, they would never patrol together. Five: Why the hell was he sulking like this?
"Dick? Are you alright?" Dick nodded slowly, his mind clearing and his cogs in his head started to turn again.
"You won't have to be Robin for a while Timmy."
"But whose going to help Batman then?" Tim was shocked when his brother turned round with a spark in his eyes that had not been there a moment before. It was like looking at the old Dick again back when he was Robin.
"I am." he whispered.
"And how are you going to do that? Hit the villain's with you crutches!?" Tim didn't want to be mean but Dick was acting crazy. Dick didn't seem to notice the comment, frowning he went back into thought.
"Before Jason…Before all this, I was starting to get a lot of movement in my leg even though I wasn't working that hard at rehab."
"Yeh but then you got all stubborn, wallowing in self-pity and stopped taking your pain meds. Now look at you!" Tim was verging on yelling, was Dick really serious about this? Had he finally lost his mind?
"Listen to me Timmy." Dick limped over and took his brother head in his hands. "I haven't worked everything out yet but if I can get Leslie behind me on this then maybe I can convince Bruce and maybe I can get my life back!"
Tim shook his head "What brought this on?" he was handed the papers with the costume designs and Jason's note.
"Jason wanted me to have a life; he believed that I would recover. I can't give up and…what was it you said wallowing..."
"In self-pity." said Tim not taking his eyes off the paper "This is crazy Dick!" But then he looked in the blue eyes before him , eyes that for so long had been dead and defeated but now they were burning with determination. "Alright fine! I'll help, but if Leslie says no that's it!" Dick nodded smiling; he actually smiled, this in turn made Tim smile. "So what you going to call yourself then, I presume you don't want to go back to being Robin?" Dick handed him another piece of paper.
"Jason thought of that too" the little punk knew him too well. "Nightwing".

Chapter 9: Set 2

"No. Absolutely not." Bruce's expression was half way between stern and utter shock. How could his son be so stupid to ask such as stupid question and why was everyone in the house behind him on it?
"Come on Bruce!" Dick said his shoulders slumping as he leant against the desk, looking more together than he had in months. This was the point that Bruce noticed he didn't have his crutches. As the boy stood next to Leslie, he held himself quite tall.
"No Dick, that's final! I've just lost one son do you really think I'm going to risk losing you too?" There were a few awkward moments of silence at the mention of Jason. Leslie thought Dick might give in but he continued in a whisper.
"Please Dad." Bruce had to look away from the deep blue eyes that were now staring at him.
"Out. I need to talk to Leslie." The blonde woman caught Dick's gaze as he walked out the room and Bruce couldn't help but notice the strength in his stride. "Are you serious encouraging this?" The woman shrugged.
"The way I see it Bruce there's no reason why he can't. His leg had improved more than we could have hoped, in the last few months when Dick told me what he wanted, he has recovered impressively. He's more focused and determined. Just like before the incident."

"Months? You mean you've been planning this for month? And haven't told me!"

Outside Dick winced at the shouts, maybe he should have told Bruce sooner about the plan to return to his old life but then he would have been shot down and never have even got this far. As it was his leg was nearly fully healed. It still hurt and he was still on pain meds but he could walk and run and it was growing strong again. If Bruce would just train him, he knew he could become the hero Jason had created for him.
"How's it going?" said Tim looking down at his brother who was sat on the floor outside their fathers study, his knees brought up to his chest.
"Not so good, Bruce isn't very happy about being kept in the dark so long." Tim shrugged and sat down next to him, stretching his legs out in front of him.
"He'll get over it." They listened some more.

"Leslie, you can't be serious. Dick may have healed enough for him to live normally which is excellent, but he won't manage the way he used to work as Robin. The fighting style won't work, he'll get hurt. Or worse."
"Then teach him a new style! You're Batman for crying out loud, if anyone can find him a fighting style that will compliment his limitations it's you!" there was a moments silence as Bruce contemplated this. Teach Dick a new fighting style, could that work? Leslie quietly fed his thoughts. "Bruce he needs this. Since he's been pulled away from Robin I've watched him become more and more frustrated with life, I hardly ever saw him smile. He would work only hard enough to get me off his back. But now since he decided to become this new hero the light is back in his eyes. I've never seen anyone go through a rehab programme as fast as he has. He wasn't supposed to recover this much, but he has. Maybe fate his giving him another chance." Bruce closed his eyes for a few seconds and sighed before looking back up at her, defeated.
"Alright, I'll train him".


[Mount Justice gym December]"Why are we here? Why not the Bat cave?" said Dick looking around the gym confused. He had been excited when Bruce had agreed to train him, but coming here was unexpected and Dick didn't know how he felt about Batman being unexpected.
"Motivation, you always did like having an audience."
"Not when I'm going to be looking like a weakling" but then Dick realised. That was the point; Batman was still trying to change his mind.
"You don't have to do this you know." Dick shook his head at his mentor, clenching his fists in determination.
"Yes I do." Batman shrugged and moved to the mats.
"Fine we'll start with sit ups which will test the strength of your leg." Dick followed and lay down on the mat. Batman put his foot over the younger's feet to anchor him. "Go until I say stop. You say stop if you can't go any further." Nodding he started pulling himself forward.
The pain was excruciating. He had thought rehab was bad enough but this was torture. "40." Batman's counting wasn't helping matters, but then that was most likely the point. Come on Grayson, Todd would have bounced back by now! "60." Just keep going, ignore the pain, it will pass. "80." When you're strong again you can beat the hell out of the Joker, just keep thinking about how good that will feel. "100. Stop." Dick fell back against the mats. Batman watched him with a perplexed look; he was impressed. With the extent to how bad the boys leg was damaged he shouldn't have been able to do 10 sit-ups, let alone 100. Maybe, just maybe, this could work.

[ February]"45." Wally just watched in disbelieve at his best friend doing sit ups on a parallel bar. He was here every day now training with Batman. "60." He was defiantly improving but Wally couldn't help but worry if Dick was setting his goals too high.

[ May]"Again." Batman dodged the punch that came his way. "You're still being to light on your feet, you need to hold your ground. Use your upper body strength and don't rely on your legs, you're not going to be able to flip around like you used too." Dick growled under his breath as he punched again, concentrating on balancing his legs and putting more force into the punch. "Better again."

[June]"It will hurt more to kick with that leg that to stand on it trust me." Dick took a step back thought about what Batman had said and then tried again standing on his injured leg and striking out with the other. Batman caught his foot and threw it away. "Now you need to add more force or there isn't going to be much point you going through this. Your attack will be no more dangerous than Alfred's!" Dick rolled his eyes behind his glasses and tried again only to be thrown again. "This is pointless. If you can't put the strength behind it then you're not going to last. We should quit now before you get yourself…" the kick seem to come from now where. A perfect round house kick that sent the Bat to the floor.
"That enough strength for you!" Batman took a few seconds to make sure that no one had seen him get his butt kicked and to give his son a brief smile.
"Now that is more like it."

[September] Curious about what was going on in the gym these days, the Team and a few of the League members went to investigate. Months back it had started pretty quiet but as time had gone on the sound of someone fighting the Bat had grown louder. Not wanting to disturb the Dark Knight no one, apart from Wally a few times, had gone in there. Curiosity finally got the better of them but when they entered they saw Batman standing alone.
"What's going on Bats?" Said Flash. Batman didn't even look at them instead he kept his eyes looking up at the roof.
"Training." he said simply. The other heroes looked up and a few of them gasped. Up in the rafters was man clad in black, he was walking along one of the highest beams on his hands. "Remove your hand." called up Batman and the man removed slowly an arm from the beam. Batman sighed in frustration. "I mean the arm you didn't injure." Up in the rafters the man seemed to think for a moment before putting his arm down and carefully raising the other. Leaving his weakened wrist supporting his whole body weight on a thin beam high up in the air.
"Who is that?" asked Wonder Woman.
"Come down" Called Batman and the man flipped off the beam and skilfully made his way down using the different bits of equipment around the gym. Finally he landed in front of them. He was dressed in a fitted black Kevlar suit that had a blue bird across his chest. His face was covered with a domino mask. "This is Nightwing" said Batman everyone stared in disbelieve. This new hero…Nightwing. Was Robin. The original Robin. Wally was the first to walk forward, taking his friends hand and smiling with pride.
"Welcome Back."
"Good to be back".

Chapter 10: Set 3

Nightwing's eyes travelled through the darkness to see each of his team members waiting in the shadows. It was silent. It was times like this that Nightwing missed Wally and Artemis, even though most of the time they were arguing or flirting at least there had been something to relax you while you waited but now everyone was on edge. With nothing better to do, Nightwing started to get lost in his thoughts, thinking back to his first day as this new hero.

"Welcome Back.""It's good to be back."
M'gann's arms were round his neck a second later. "Oh my goodness it's so good to see you so well again…Nightwing." There were tears in her eyes at the sight of seeing their baby bird back on his feet, putting up a fight once again. After the loss of his brother the Team was worried that the former Robin would sink further and further away from them."It is good to see you so well my friend. I couldn't have imagined a better comeback if I had all the time in the world." said Kaldur shaking the new heroes hand."Where did these muscles come from?" asked Artemis poking Nightwing's arm."Can't rely on my legs anymore so I've got to have another advantage." he grinned, a smile that the team had missed dearly. "Come on! Let's go back to the kitchen, I'll make some cookies to celebrate."Tthe Martian then flew off out of the room humming happily, the Team went after her. Hanging behind for a moment Nightwing turned to the rest of his "Family" and accepted a hug of Wonder Woman."I'm so proud of you Dickie." she whispered in his ear, Dick tightened the hug."Thanks Auntie D."

Slight movement from within the darkness brought Nightwing back from his memories.
"They're coming" Said M'gann through the mind link, everyone straightened up ready to fight.
"How many are there?" came Wonder Girls voice. Nightwing watched as they all crept closer to the gang.
"24 of them and 7 of us…should be a piece of cake" said Robin causing Nightwing to role his eyes at his little brother. He had become Robin nearly a year after he himself had re-joined the group as Nightwing.
"Beast Boy, you and Blue Beetle take the right side, Robin you go to the back with Super Girl. Miss Martian take the left with Super Boy. I'll take them head on and distract them."
"Hey Wing, I'm not sure I'm comfortable with you going alone." Robin's thoughts were quiet and filled with worry.
"Don't worry, I'll be fine. Go!" They went their separate ways finding their partners and making their way to all sides of the gang to surrounding them. Taking a deep breath the Team's leader started his way towards them.
"So we got the shipments coming in at Midnight tomorrow. If anyone gets in your way kill em. Understand!" the men nodded "And another thing, keep your eyes out of those pesky morons in tights."
"I think you'll find none of us have worn tights for a while." All of the gang turned with wide eyes to where the voice had come from, ducking when the batarangs came from the darkness.
"Well, well, well, if it isn't Nightwing." A thug sneered, the hero smiled sarcastically.
"The one and only" he walked slowly closer, making sure that all eyes were on him and away from his team.
"You were foolish to come alone." They all drew their weapons; most of them had guns but some hand knives. How Nightwing hated knives.
"Now that's where you're making your first big mistake." said Nightwing crossing his arms over his chest still smiling his cocky smile. "Who ever said I was alone?" There were cries from the men as some of them were instantly taken down by the Team. Others twisted round quickly just before they were met with the same fate. The leader turned angrily back at the masked hero before him and lunged forward. With a swift kick the gun was out of his hand but he kept come on at Nightwing with his fists. "You know for an old guy, you're putting up a very good fight. Shame you're just not as flexible as me." The vigilante laughed as he bent himself backwards out the gangsters reach. The rest of the team had pretty much wrapped up the others and were just taking down the last remaining few. Robin was still watching his brother warily.
"You'll pay for that Bat Brat."
"Like I've never heard that one before!" The 18 year old once again dodged the hit still laughing. The laughs were stopped when the gangster pulled a gun from a holster in his jacket and aimed it at Robin.
"Let see whose laughing now."

Before he could pull the trigger Nightwing had tackled him causing the gun falling from his hands but the older man was quick to recover. In his panic Nightwing lunged wrong and although managing to disarm him he had landed on the floor on his back making himself vulnerable. The gangster pulled a knife from his jacket, Nightwing allowed himself a few seconds just to wonder how this guy held so many weapons in one jacket! He lunged the knife forward and Super Girls scream; the scream decided Nightwing's course of action.
"Nightwing!" Realising his only option he brought his leg up to his chest letting the knife plunge through the Kevlar on his calf rather than his chest, then bringing the other leg up, he pushed the guy off him. The rest of them team were on him in seconds, Super Boy and Blue Beetle taking care of the gangster while the others went to check on Nightwing.
"I'm fine, I'm fine." he said sitting up and pulling the knife from his leg. Robin put his hands over the puncture wound but was surprised when no blood came from the suit.
"Are you sure you're alright?" he whispered when the others went to finish the mission and waited for the police. "What idiot puts his weakest leg in harm's way?"
"Better to have the weakest than the strongest." Robin stuck his tongue out at him before helping him up. "Alright everyone. Miss M call the Bio ship. Let's go home."


In truth Nightwing was in a lot of pain. The knife may not have drawn blood but it did some damage. He sighed as he changed into sweat pants and looked down at the pill box in his hands. The original members of the team knew he took them but the newer members didn't need to know that information. It made him look weak.
"Blue Beetle to Nightwing." Sighing again Dick answered the call.
"What is it blue?"
"The computer is acting weird…I think you need to come and see this." Pushing his pain aside, placing his pills down for the moment, Dick replaced his mask becoming Nightwing once more and walked down to the monitor room.

Pretty much the whole of Young Justice was present including Wally and Artemis who were on a surprise visit before they went on holiday together.
"What's the problem?"
"I don't know." Blue was typing furiously at the keyboard the scarab on his back sending him instructions. "It's not letting me access anything. Its shutting down." Nightwing shook his head knowing that the system didn't just shut down for no reason and without sending a warning to the control room.
"Don't be so dramatic."
"Commencing lock down." Nightwing's eyes widened.
"That can't be good." The steel doors were brought down, blocking all exits. A few people ran to the exits, using their powers on them to try and break through, Nightwing knew they wouldn't succeed. He had been at the meeting when they had created the lock down sequence. Nothing could get in or out of the Centre hold without a password. After voicing this and the fact that he knew the password everyone relaxed until he then had to admit that in recent months they had found a flaw with their plan but hadn't ever got round to sorting out.
"So where is the pass pad?" asked Super boy arms crossed over the S on his front, the younger looked sheepish for a moment.
"On the other side of that door." There were groans from most people around the room.
"Didn't Uncle Barry change that?" said Wally running up next to his best friend.
"Apparently not." Nightwing held up his wrist computer. "Nightwing to Batman." His mentors face appeared on the small screen.
"What's wrong Nightwing? You're not supposed to contact us when were off world." There was another groan when everyone heard that. They were going to be stuck in here for a while.
"The computer went haywire and were kind of trapped in the control room of the mountain while it's in lock down with no way out." He tried to say it calmly so that the others wouldn't panic as much.
"You know the passwords." said Batman flatly.
"Yeh but the pass pad is on the other side." There were a few moments as the Bat frown before everyone heard shouting on the other side.
"I thought you said you'd fixed that?" Batman growled at Flash.
"It wasn't a main priority sorry if the world needed saving!" Came Flash's response.
"We should be back tomorrow Nightwing, you know where the food and medical supplies are?" He nodded. "Good we'll be back as soon as we can". And then he was gone.

"Looks like we are stuck here for a while, but don't worry we have supplies." He turned to look at M'gann who nodded and showed them the way. Nightwing sat on the edge of the computers platform.
"You alright Wing?" Robin was next to him again, looking down on his with concern, he looked really drained.
"Yeh legs just feeling a little stiff."
"Have you got your pills?" Nightwing reached to his pocket before remembering he had put them down in his room before coming here.
"No." He sighed the pain wasn't too bad at the moment it was something he could live with, he just had to make sure he didn't knock it or walk on it too much. Robin on the other hand was more panicked and without thinking cried out.
"You idiot!" Both Bats looked quickly around after the outburst and internally cursed when they realised everyone had heard.
"What's wrong?" A few people were starting to crowd round now including the original members of Young Justice.
"Nothing, I'm fine."
"Are you sure?" Asked Super Girl "I mean you did get stabbed in the leg earlier."
"Wait you got stabbed?" cried Wally looking down the former Boy Wonder.
"It's not a problem it didn't break any skin." They didn't look like they believed him. "You're not going to let this go are you?" he asked, when they shook their heads he sighed. "Fine." He lifted up the leg of his sweat pants and cringed at the gasps.

Other than Robin, he had shown no one the scars from his injury. The scar tissue itself was angry and ugly but there wasn't much off it due to the fact that a lot of his leg was made of metal plates that had been drilled to the bones. They hadn't been covered to give him as much flexibility as possible. The metal was an alien alloy that didn't react with any element or chemical on earth so that it wouldn't rust or be magnetised to earth elements. Flash and Canary had worked hard to recreate his leg after the mess it had become and although it was painful, it was strong and apparently could work as weak armour.
"So the knife just hit the plate?" He nodded "How on earth can you walk around on that, it looks so painful."
"It is painful for him, but he's stubborn. And he's also an idiot because the pills that allow him to manage the pain are currently sat on his desk in his room behind a door of solid alien steel!" Robin panted after his rant and they all looked worriedly from one Bat to the other. Not sure which one they should be more concerned about. Nightwing seemed pretty calm.
"So does that mean..?"
"It means unless that door gets opened soon. I'm going to be in unbearable pain within twelve hours."

Chapter 11: Set 3

Time is an awful thing. Nightwing had never hated it as much as he hated it now. He sat on one of the chairs that the team had gathered around, watching the seconds pass by on the clock. His pills lasted for about 6 hours; he had had about 3 hours left more or less when he had entered the room before lock down, that had been nearly 2 hours ago.
"Dude, watching the clock isn't going to make you feel any better, it's just going to put you more on edge." said Wally taking a seat next to his best friend.
"I can't help it." Replied Nightwing, his eyes not moving from the ticking object. "Once the pills wear off all the pain in going to come back full force. I don't want to lose control of my emotions in front of the team. I'm meant to be their leader, I can't appear weak." Wally frowned taking a glance over to where his girlfriend and a few of the others were stood. Artemis, sensing someone watching her, turned to face them she still had a frown on her face. She had not been happy at finding Nightwing had lied when he said years ago that he was fully recovered. A few of the others were upset that he had led them to believe he was stronger than he was. Wally was slightly upset that his best friend had not let him in and admitted just how badly he had been injured, but he understood why Nightwing had kept it quiet. If people knew they would have treated him different and Dick wouldn't have got as far as he had.
"I don't think she's ever going to forgive me for lying to her. Or you for that matter."
"Na she'll get over it. And don't worry about me; you know I could never be mad at you. You're my little bro." Nightwing smiled at that.

It was around 20 minutes later that Super girl and Beast boy came running up to him a first aid box in their hands.
"Hey Wing, we found a med box. There are quite a few pain killers in here. Will any of these do?" Nightwing looked in the box they offered him. Most of the pills were weak pain killers that would be no good. To even touch the pain he would have to take so many that he would risk putting himself into a coma...although maybe that was an option. Nightwing shook away his low moment. There was also a single shot of morphine. That would ease his pain for maybe 3 hours if he was lucky but it would also make him sick, just as it had a few years ago when he had been on a constant drip of it.
"The morphine will be good for a little while if it gets too bad."
"Didn't you have a bad reaction to that?" Said Wally frowning when his friend nodded.
"What do you normally take?" asked Beast Boy.
"Vicodin." Wally let out a low whistle, he didn't realise his friend was still on such strong stuff.

5 hours later they were still stuck in the room, most people had found some way or another to occupy themselves. For Robin and the original members of Young Justice they occupied themselves by worrying over Nightwing. His pain killers had worn off 4 hours ago, he was now led on the floor with this leg propped up on a pile of jumpers, his arm covering his face.
"How you doing Wing?" said Robin who was perched on a chair crossed legged above his brother's head. Nightwing mumbled a response that no one could understand but they got the gist. He was in pain.
"Maybe we should call Bats to see if he can send someone ahead of them." said M'gann looking worriedly at the broken bird on the floor. But the bird in question just shook his head before taking a deep breath and removing his arms. Artemis held back her grimace at the sight of her friend. Nightwing was pale and clammy, sweat clung to his forehead and judging by the slight flush of colour on his cheeks, he had a fever.
"Batman doesn't need to be distracted by this. We can hold out till tomorrow...or today I can't tell anymore".
"Yeh we can. But you don't look like you can." said Robin ,the last time he had seen his brother look like this was when they had first brought him home after surgery.
"I'm fine. As long as I don't move the pain is manageable."
"Dude you look like crap." said Wally, Artemis hit his arm after his blunt statement but Wally shrugged at her. There was no point beating around the bush about it.
"That's just from the lack of drugs. Vicodin is highly addictive, my body is craving it." They're eyes widened. Most of this was caused by withdrawal symptoms!
"If the pain gets any worse, we're giving you the morphine." Nobody argued with Robin.

When they had been in the room for nearly 10 hours, Nightwing could barely breath it hurt so bad to move.
"We have to give him the morphine" said Artemis looking over at her former team mate who was lead where he had been for hours but was now practically biting down on his sleeve to stop himself screaming in agony.
"The League said they would be at least 24 hours. It's only been 10 we are going to be in here for a long time yet. Giving him relieve now would only mean he would be in more pain for who knows how long after." Wally's thoughts made sense but no one felt any better about it. Finally Nightwing brought his sleeve away from his clenched jaw
"Hey guys if you going to talk about me can you either do it where I can put my input or somewhere I can't hear you please." His voice was shaking and horse.
"Sorry Wing." said Robin sheepishly, they re-joined their friend in the cluster of seats.

A little further away the newer members of the Team were concerned for their leader.
"I've never seen him like this before." said Super Girl. "He normally brushes off injuries." Beast boy nodded in agreement looked around to make sure none of the older members were close by before leaning in closer to his group.
"I heard he literally almost got his leg bitten off by Killer Croc." he whispered. Cassy looked sickened by this remark.
"I heard about the incident when he was Robin, but since he became Nightwing I just presumed that he hadn't been extremely injured." said Blue Beetle sneaking a glance over to robin and their senior members. "You would have thought they would have given him the pain killers we found by now." Nobody said anything for a while until Artemis' panicked voice echoed throughout the room.
"No, no, no, stay awake Nightwing." This grabbed everyone's attention.
"What's going on?" asked Cassy.
"His body is going into shock from the pain. You have to stay awake Wing!" Robin was gently but firmly tapping the side of the older heroes face to make sure he didn't close his eyes and pass out. "You need to give him the morphine!"
"But we don't know how long were going to be in here!" Wally exclaimed, Artemis rounded on him. He and Artemis fought a lot but never before about something this serious.
"You're the scientist West. If he doesn't get relieve from the pain his body will go into shock. If we don't get him help soon after that then he will die." Wally's eyes widened when he realised this girlfriend was right.
"We'll need to get him close to a bathroom. Morphine makes him sick." was all he could think of to say as he plunged the needle into the arm of the man he considered his little brother. Almost instantly the pain expression on Nightwing's face, that had been there for hours, relaxed slightly.
"So what now? Asked Beast Boy.
"Now we wait." Wally's tone was sad and distant. "He's in for a hell of a bumpy ride".

Nightwing's condition was starting to give them all whiplash. One minute he was almost passing out of the pain, next he was sat up feeling a lot better but now he was currently sat on the bathroom floor with his head by his knee (just the one since he still couldn't move the other) as another wave of nausea ran over him.
"No offense Wally, but when your Uncle gets back, I'm going to kill him." Dick slurred, his eyes closed against the vertigo.
"Fair enough." Wally laughed lightly, hoping it might brighten the other.

Back in the main room Blue Beetle was fiddling with the computer again, Connor came to join him.
"No offense, but the last time you played with this thing we all got trapped him here." he dead panned, but even Blue had learnt to detect the humour in the clones' voice.
"There must have been a reason for the computer to act up, if I can just get past the main frame then I might be able to see what virus if any way placed there."
"And how are you planning on doing that?" The blue creature shrugged.
"I have no idea. I only know the theory behind it, I'm not entirely sure on the practise and unfortunately there is only one person who is."


Nightwing honestly couldn't tell which hurt more, his leg or his pride. Ok so it was most properly his leg, but throwing up into a toilet while some of the youngest members of his team were asking for his input was not doing his pride any good either.
"So you see, you're the only one who knows how to go around the mainframe." Blue Beetle finished explaining. When Nightwing felt sure he could open his mouth without throwing up he nodded slowly.
"I helped build the main frame so it should be a piece of cake. Under the desk is a portable computer panel. Bring it in here so I can hack it." They gave him confused looks to his request. "There is no way I'm moving from here anytime soon." he said and as if to prove his point his face paled dramatically and he leant over the basin again. There wasn't anything left in his stomach so he was just dry heaving by this point.
"You are so not feeling the aster." Said Wally when Nightwing had settle down again. Nightwing just groaned in response.

Chapter 12: Set 3

Nightwing did eventually find his way back into the main room looking slightly less green. He found himself sat in the large leather chair in front of the computer that had started all the problems, tapping confidently at the keyboard occasionally turning back to the portable board to check on the download he had started while he was in the bathroom throwing his dignity down the toilet. The others just watched in amazement as all the numbers flew across the screens, none of them understanding anything. Nightwing could have been ordering a pizza for all they knew, but for some reason that made it even more impressive.
"Don't suppose there's any chance of you getting that door open any time soon. Cause well, me and Blondie have a plane to catch and I mean it will only take 10 minutes for me to zeta home, get our bags and then run us to the airport...but you know it would nice not to be cutting it too close." said Wally standing behind his best friend, Nightwing answered but didn't look away from the screens.
"Trust me Wally I want those doors open just as much as you. When I get them open you and Artemis will be the first to know." he said dryly.
"How's the pain?" asked the redhead, finally dealing with the elephant in the room. The ebony paused for a moment, clenched his hands into fists and then continued.
"I'm trying not to think about it."
"Good call. Well what do you thinks up?"
"It's defiantly a virus. But it's got a unique code that I recognise but I can't remember for the life of me where I've seen it before." Wally could see the frustration mixed in with a pained expression on the masked face. "But it's there. Which is worrying. I've just got to work out what their plan is before something happens." he ran a hand through his hair and Wally saw his hand was shaking.
"Can you hack it?" The younger made a tst sound.
"Who do you think you're talking too." he smiled weakly before getting back to work.

2 hours later he was still working but was starting to struggle as the pain returned. He ignored it, fully absorbing himself with the task before him. So much so that when his wrist computer buzzed he actually jumped.
"Batman?" He had everyone's attention.
"We're on our way back to earth. How is everyone holding up?" Dick wad suddenly caught between wanting to look strong and the irrational want for his gaurdian.
"Bored but doing alright." he said "Although I found the reason for the shutdown. There's a virus in the system, its code is familiar but I haven't been able to decipher it yet." There was a pause, Nightwing tried not to let the pain show on his face. The last thing he needed was a lecture.
"And what about you?" Damn it.
"What about me?" Batman tilted his head ever so slightly to the side so that only Nightwing could tell. It was bat talk for "you know what I mean." "My legs acting up a bit." Batman nodded in understanding.
"When did you last take your pain killers?" Nightwing shrugged not wanting to worry him but someone from behind him shouted for him.
"Nearly 15 hours ago!" Nightwing turned round and threw a Bat-glare in the voices general direction. Upon looking he found the voice belonged to his brother. There was a low growl on the end of the line.
"Why aren't you taking them?"
"Cause they are locked outside." Nightwing dead panned, preparing himself for the full explosion of Daddybats.
"How could you be so stupid!"
"It's not like I planned it! And besides I'm fine, the morphine is doing the job for now." He didn't realise his mistake until it was too late.
"But morphine doesn't do you any good." Growled the Bat noticing the pale complexion of his eldest son and the sweat clinging to his forehead.
"Chill Bats its fine. I'm not a little kid anymore." The Bat seemed to relax back into his usual demeanour, probably rationalising yelling would do the situation no good. Typical Bat logic.
"We're on our way back now. We should only be a few hours." Nightwing could tell they would pick this conversation up later. He wasn't looking forward to that.
"Hurry." Nightwing whispered quietly, the Batman nodded and the scream went black.

Robin looked worried at his friends and then back to his brother. Being part of the bat family he knew that conversation had not gone well, no matter how calm it had seemed. Suddenly Nightwing slammed his hands down on the desk top.
"Damn it!" he stood up and walked as best and as fast as he could towards the door.
"Nightwing are you stupid? Sit down!" cried Wonder Girl but Nightwing ignored her crossing the room to the door , opening a panel in the wall.
"What are you doing?" asked Connor showing some level of curiosity.
"I'll be damned if I'm going to let him save us after that conversation. I'm going to get us out of here if it kills me." Nightwing muttered through gritted teeth; whether that was from anger or pain was anyone's guess.
"If you don't calm down it will kill you." Wally's words were serious and Nightwing took a deep breath to calm himself down before carrying on. Robin was getting fidgety. The last time his brother had been mad like this was about a year after becoming Nightwing. After a bad mission Batman had tried to pull Dick out of the vigilante life (again). A huge fight occurred and Dick had run off. They found him in Blud haven a few months later doing very well at cleaning up their streets. As a result Batman had caved and let Nightwing continue. Due to today's mess with Dick's pills Robin knew Bats would try to pull him again. Dick would not allow that.
"So what are you doing?" Connor asked again, this time more to try and calm Nightwing down rather than out of curiosity.
"If I can't get past the virus then I'll take it out. If I replace the hard drive with the one from my wrist computer it will open the doors for a few seconds and give Wally chance to get through to tap in the pass codes. My hard drive won't be strong enough to hold for long and the main frame with destroy it pretty fast so you'll have to be quick". Wally nodded but raised an eyebrow at him.
"And you didn't do this earlier because...?"
"Because it's a stupid idea, a waste of money and might not work...but it's all I got." Wally shrugged, it was good enough for him. Nightwing grabbed a pen from his pocket and wrote the codes on Wally's hand. "Ok you ready? When you're through wait for me to put the old hard drive back before you put in the codes." The ginger gave a curt nod and stood by the door ready as the ebony turned back to the wires in his hand. He removed the back of his wrist computer and started swapping the hard drives.
"Systems rebooting." Came the female electronic voice, the door started to rise. Wally ran for it sliding under it just before the computer announced. "System shut down. Loss of power." Nightwing's hard drive started sparking and the doors shut once again. Ignoring the sparks Wing started swapping the mechanics once again. He then banged on the door, signalling Wally to type in the codes. After a few seconds the doors started opening. "Access granted." there was a chorus of cheers but Wally's voice broke them off.
"Guys you might want to come and see this."

The mountain had been ran sacked. Furniture had been over turned, draws had been emptied onto the floor. Glass littered the place from broken glasses and picture frames. Anything breakable was broken.
"Who did this?" asked Beast Boy stepping carefully through the rubble.
"We can check the security cameras." said Nightwing leaning heavily against the wall. M'gann frowned floating over to join the shape shifter she had adopted as her little brother.
"I can't sense anyone so I think they are gone. Do you think whoever did this caused the lock down Wing?" she turned to see him now slowly sinking to the floor. "Nightwing!"
"I'm fine, I'm fine" he said as the team hurried over to him. Now that the adrenaline had worn off the pain was eating at him again. "I just need my pills."
"Way ahead of you Bro." Robin walked over to him with his bottle of pills and a plastic cup of water. "Sorry about the cup all the glasses are broken." Nightwing swallowed the pills and leant his head against the wall. Suddenly he was exhausted.
"We better start tiding up" he said quietly after a while.
"We'll tidy up, you go get some sleep." said Connor, he could hear his friends irregular heart beat and see the glazed look of his eyes.
"Come on" said Wally wrapping his friends arm around his shoulders "I'll help you. Then me and Blondie better get going." Walking slowly to the dorms Nightwing could feel his eye lids growing heavy. When he was finally able to lie down it wasn't long before sleep took him. Artemis looked at her friend from the door, she had found out a few months ago that Nightwing was Dick Grayson; the sweet, cocky boy from her High School. The boy she had befriended and protected from bullies. And he had been right; they had laughed about it. She walked forward and kissed him on the forehead.
"Sleep well Dick." As they turned to leave the archer got the intense feeling of being watched. Brushing it off she followed Wally towards the Zeta Beams.

Chapter 13: Set 3

The first thing that Nightwing wanted when he awoke was a shower. He was covered in sweat from being in so much pain for so long. Stripping back the covers and standing, he also noted that the pain was now a dull throbbing. Taking some more Vicodin he crossed the room to his bathroom. The hot water felt blissful on his skin, especially on the scarred mess that was his leg. After about 15 minutes he forced himself to leave the warm embrace of the shower, heading back to his room. He dressed himself in his suit, the feel of the Kevlar on his skin comforting and making him feel stronger. He hoped the team would still think of him as their fearless leader even after seeing the pain he went through every day. It was only after dressing that he looked at his clock; it was evening, he had been asleep for nearly 4 hours. Batman and the others should be back by now…then why was it so quiet?

Leaving his room he walked through the mountain finding it clean and tidy although missing a few vases. But other than that there was no one in sight.
"Guys?" called Nightwing an uneasy feeling starting to stir within him.
"In here Wing!" breathing a sigh of relief the masked man made his way to where he heard the voice. In the living room was M'gann.
"Where is everybody?" he asked taking a seat next to her. M'gann smiled at him, noting how much colour had returned to his face.
"Most of them have gone home. Robin got a call of a robbery in Gotham." Nightwing almost choked on air.
"He went to Gotham on his own!" He cried. M'gann raised her hands to calm him, expecting his outburst.
"Don't worry, he took a small team and we checked that it wasn't Joker or any one like that. It was just a normal thief."
"Yeh, I've heard that before." said Nightwing sighed bitterly. He put his feet up on the sofa beside him, flexing the toes of his bad leg. "So nobody else is here?"
"No, Superman called a few hours ago asking Connor to meet him in Small Ville, he'll be beaming there as soon as they get back to the watch tower."
"You mean they aren't back yet?" M'gann shook her head but she didn't seem to worried.
"No they got held up on one of the comrade worlds on their way past, once they knew we were all out of the lock down they decided it would be alright to investigate. They shouldn't be too long." He nodded but was still distracted, something wasn't sitting right with him at the moment, maybe it was the fact his little brother was alone fighting crime in Gotham.
"Where did you say Robin was going?"
"Umm..." M'gann flew over to the table where she picked up a piece of paper that had the young birds co-ordinates. "Apparently the thief was spotted going down into the sewers west side of Gotham…Wing are you alright?" Nightwing had turned pale. "Nightwing it's only a thief, they can handle it." But the man shook his head.
"It's not the thief I'm worried about." he said standing up and practically running towards the zeta beam. "It's what's in the sewers. It's a trap Meg!"
"But who?" she cried at him as he entered the Bat Cave's code into the zeta beam.
"The same creep that killed the first Robin!"

A minute later he was in the Bat Cave, running towards his bike.
"Master Dick is everything alright?" asked the old Butler as the masked man ran past him.
"Robin's in trouble." He stated quickly. "When Bats gets back tell him to track my signal." The old man nodded as he watched the tail lights of the bike disappear into the cold wet night. The rain was coming down in sheets; Nightwing internally kicked himself for not having the brains to grab a helmet in his panic, he could barely feel his ears any more. He also made it a mental note to get a hair-cut; his fringe was currently sopping wet and getting in the way of his vision as he rode full power to where Robin and his team were meant to have gone down into the sewers. "Nightwing to Robin. Nightwing to Robin."
"Robin here, what's up Wing?"
"You have to get out of there!" He cried through his comm link; he could hear his brother hesitate.
"Why what's wrong? Wing it's just an everyday thief, I can handle it, trust me!" There was a touch of anger in the boys voice.
"It's not that Rob. Killer Croc escaped from Arkham a few weeks ago, we haven't been able to track him down. If he knows you're in the sewers he's going to come after…" there were screams on the end of the comm. "Robin? Robin!" He pushed his bike faster, finally getting to the manhole cover. He jumped down into the stagnant water. He could still hear the screams, they hadn't gone far.


Robin's eyes widened as the beast lurched from the water blocking their path. A few member of his team screamed at the sight of the Gotham villain. Robin's heart stopped for an instant; this was the monster that had nearly killed his brother.
"Robin get out of there!" He could still hear Nightwing shouting down the comm link at him but for the moment he couldn't move. There was no way they could out run Croc, they were in the sewers, this was his playground.
"Everyone find the nearest exit." He screamed, they all turned and ran back the way they had come but the next thing they knew the reptile was in front of them again.
"What's the hurry Boy Wonder? Don't you want to have some fun? The other Bat Brat was so tasty, I wonder if you'll taste as good?" Robin backed away from the beast.
"Um Robin…What do we do?" asked Blue Beetle his wings starting to shake from fear, even the scarab on his back seemed to be quiet at the moment. Robin threw a smoke bomb and they were masked in a screen of fog.
"Run!" he yelled, then he was flying as fast as his legs would carry him. He hoped they would be rescued soon.


Nightwing followed the screams to a chamber within the sewer where the pipes met before dispersing all over Gotham's underground. He took an intake of breath when he saw the creep had his brother, Blue and Lagan cornered. Croc lurched forward grabbing Robin by his collar and raising him above his head.
"Now let's see if all Robin's taste good." Hearing his brothers screams of terror was all Nightwing needed to forget everything else. He shot a grappling hook, swung down and kicked Croc in the jaw just before he clamped down on Robins arm. Robin was thrown to the side, his team went to his aid. Nightwing flipped and recovered from his jump, facing the reptile once more. "Nightwing, what a pleasant surprise. I don't believe we've ever been properly introduced." he snarled.
"Trust me Croc, we've been introduced." Nightwing was aware that not all villains were up to date of the fact that Nightwing was the first Robin. They were just slow like that, Killer Croc was no exception apparently.
"Oh really, well do refresh my memory." With a monstrous hiss he jumped forward teeth bared. Nightwing pulled out his bo staff; there was a horrid sound of metal hitting scales that bounced off the walls as the two made contact. Nightwing was thrown backwards from the impact but managed to once again recover. Croc shook his head as if shaking away stars. "It's going to take more than that to hurt me boy." He snared again. "These scales aren't just for show, they work as armour against your pathetic weaponry." He charged again. All Nightwing could do was dodge as he thought up a plan.


"Next time we go off world I'm making sure every creep in Gotham is locked up in Arkham in a body cast and that my sons are locked up with no way out!" growled Batman as he quickly drove to where Nightwing's signal was flaring on his computer screen. Green Arrow shrank back slightly away from the dark aura that was radiating off the Bat. He was the only one Bruce would allow into Gotham; since he didn't have any powers he wouldn't attract any of the crazy's. He took a few moments to think himself grateful that Roy…both Roy's and Artemis were safe and sound and not about to be eaten by a giant crocodile.

They found the closest cover to where the signal was and jumped through. Arrow pulled a face when the water nearly flowed over and into his boots.
"The sewer, this is just gross." He stated but Batman didn't look like he was in the mood for joking…then again when was Batman ever in the mood for joking?
"This way." They walked down the pipes until they heard shouting, they then started to run until they came to the chamber. Robin's small team were armed with their weapons but were unable to attack as Killer Croc had his scaled arms wrapped around Nightwing. "Croc!" shouted Batman "Let him go." Croc turned and gripped the young hero tighter.
"Not a chance Batman! This one smells good." Batman saw Nightwing tense as the croc brought his deformed nose down towards his neck. Behind his mask Dick's eyes were focused on his teeth, remembering how it had felt when they were ripping his leg to pieces. Batman drew out a Batarang while green Arrow loaded his bow. "They are useless Batman." the croc hissed. "Since breaking out I've mutated my scales to be resistant to all metal alloys known to earth." He laughed a menacing laugh but Nightwing seemed to have perked up a bit. Batman caught sight of his sons smile before hearing him whisper.
"Oh the irony." Croc exposed his teeth to sink into Nightwing's neck but the hero, using all of his strength, brought his left knee up slamming it into Killer Crocs jaw. The reptile released him immediately, howling in pain.
"I don't understand" he moaned, blood pouring down from his mouth.
"This leg, my ugly friend, is made of an alien alloy not found on this world. It's almost completely made of that metal after you…." He rounded on him again, kicking him in the stomach "almost chewed my leg off!" Nightwing could feel the anger of the last 3 years building up. "Because of you I had to quit the basketball team." Croc lurched but was kicked back again. "I couldn't dance with my best friend at prom!" Batman was getting concerned at how many hits Dick's leg was taking but he also knew it would be foolish to stop him now. "You took my identity away from me!" Croc was down but trying to get back up, one last kick stopped that. "Because of you I wasn't there to save my brother's life!"
"The first Boy Wonder…I should have known." The reptile then fell unconscious; Nightwing fell to the floor.
"Wing!" cried Robin dropping down to his knees by his brother. "Wing I'm so sorry, we should have known it was a trap. Are you alright?" The older nodded and sighed, he looked up at the looming figure over him.
"As much as I don't encourage beating people half to death…how did that feel?" asked Batman, Nightwing smiled.
"Pretty damn good actually." He grinned. "But I think I'll have to stay off my leg for a few days, it really hurts."
"I'm not surprised." said Green Arrow helping him up. Together they all walked back to the exit.

They walked in silence until they were standing near the Bat mobile. Then Batman rounded on his sons.
"And don't think you've escaped the stupidity lecture" he said to Nightwing who groaned and then he turned to Robin "And you the you should know better than to go in Gotham sewers alone lecture!" Robin dropped his head down. "Get in the car!" Both nodded, using their computers to command their bikes to go back to the cave. Even after winning against one of the meanest villains in Gotham, they still were no match for Daddybats. And then there was the matter of the intruder to deal with.

Chapter 14: Set 3

Later that night everyone was back at the Mountain. Robin, Blue and Lagan were telling everybody of how their heroic leader had fearlessly beaten the reptilian monster down in the sewers. Nightwing was led on one of the sofas as Flash was checking over his leg frowning and muttering under his breath.
"How many dents!" Batman was looking over the security footages, fast forwarding through the hours and hours of tape where there was no body walking around due to the lockdown.
"Anything yet?" Nightwing asked from his perch.
"Not yet…there!" He paused the footage and zoomed in. "Deathstroke." He dead panned, distaste clear in his tone. Nightwing led his head against the arm of the sofa groaning.
"Slade! Seriously?"
"Did he cause the lock down?" asked Robin, Bats shook his head.
"No, if the tape is anything to go by he was very annoyed at not being able to reach you. The fact that you were trapped in lock down properly saved your lives." Everyone was silent for a while before M'gann said quietly.
"Then the question remains, who put the virus into the computer?" Again there was silence as they contemplated this. They all looked to Nightwing for his opinion but the young man shrugged.
"As I said it was a familiar code, if I take another look at it while not in pain I'm sure I could AHHH!" He screamed in pain, then glared down at Flash who was currently holding a special magnet over the now un-dented metal, a sheepish grin on his face.
"Sorry." He grinned, Nightwing glared and growled at him.
"Could you at least warn me next time? That metal is attached to my nerves after all!"
"I hope there isn't going to be a next time." said Bats "As much as I commend your improvisation, I don't want you doing anything that stupid again. Your leg could have been damaged permanently."
Night's eyebrow raised from behind his sunglasses, he knew Bruce's lecture had no force to it other than fatherly concern but it still annoyed him. After all, he couldn't really talk; Batman put people the Arkham villain's in hospital at least twice a month. "It was either that or him bite my head off…literally." Robin took a step between then, feeling a fight coming brewing.
"Ok! Shall we work on more pressing matters, like I don't know…how to stop Death Stroke from getting into the cave again?" With a grunt Batman turned back to the computer and started conversing with the rest of the Justice League about getting higher security put in. Flash turned back to the injured vigilante.
"You. No training for at least 2 days. Rest that leg, take your pills and you'll be back to beating up crocodiles in no time." he smiled.
"You got it boss!" Nightwing mock saluted him before resting his head once again on the back of the sofa and closed his eyes. Slade was back on the scene; he thought he was done with that psycho after having a run in with him back when he was Robin. The creep had kidnapped him and held him for months, forcing him to steal for him. Sighing he turned his mind to the other problem that was pressing on his mind. Who had saved them?


It was a week later that Batman finally let Nightwing back on patrol. Robin and Nightwing were currently sat on a roof top, staring out over Gotham. The city really was beautiful from above.
"Did I ever thank you for saving me?" said Robin swinging his legs over the edge of the building, Nightwing shrugged.
"You're my little Bro, what else was I going to do? Besides I had a score to settle." He looked at the smaller and winked behind his mask, the other smiled.
"By the way, did you ever work out that virus?"
"I don't know." Nightwing ran a hand through his hair. "From what I can get from it whoever made it knew my hacking patterns and was countering them perfectly. Almost as if he was trained by Bats himself".
"I think dad would have told us if he was training someone else D." Tim joked.
"I know I know" He paused looking slightly melancholy for a moment "But do you know what's strange? For the past few days, I've really felt like someone's been watching out for us. I can feel him there."
"Who?" asked Robin looking confused ; Dick was acting strange, stranger than normal.
"Jason." Nightwing whispered, he smiled sadly at his little brother. "I guess I just have to believe that you're not just gone after death. Just like my Mamica and Tati. They're still here." Robin smiled back.
"Let's go Wing, before you make me cry." He punched his brother softly in the arm before he jumped, laughing lightly Nightwing followed.

A few rooftops away a man watched the two carefully. By the looks of things his virus had done its job and kept them safe from Slade. He replaced the Red helmet over his already masked face. Red Hood smiled slightly before taking one last look at the sons of Batman.
"Nicely done Dickie Bird."

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