Title: A tradition in the family
Warning: It's chatfic, and I don't do chatfic well.
Summary: Dick's never done too well on his own.
Finding Dick before Bruce does has probably less to do with his relative
deductive skills than with the man's unwillingness to deal with the
situation. Still, Tim does a thorough perimeter check before approaching
Nightwing. It's not as if his victim will be any more dead by then,
and the extra time is useful.
"Dick." It's less a greeting than a question.
Nightwing peels off his mask with the easy trust that makes him such
a dangerous man, and behind it... He's still Nightwing. He knows he
hasn't controlled his facial response as well as he should have when he
sees Nightwing relaxing his face in a way as close to deliberate as he
"Why did you kill Two-Face?" At some levels, it's a question so obvious
that none of them should ever have to ask it. But if the obvious were
still a valid guideline they wouldn't be having this conversation next
to a slowly cooling corpse.
"I got tired of seeing him caught and going loose to kill some kid's
father." It's less an answer than... It's not an answer. None of them
would be doing what they do if it weren't for dead fathers. Dick might
as well have described the mechanics of the strikes he had used.
Tim realizes that, as expected, he has sprung a trap. The bait is
still standing in front of him, terrifying in the relaxed set of his
shoulders. Dick - Nightwing hasn't looked so well, so in peace with
himself, in years. Tim had often hoped he could give something, anything,
to make the man look like he does now.
Every trap can be escaped from. Bruce taught that to both of them.
It's not a very relaxing thought.
"Robin shouldn't die." Interesting. No mention of Batman. Possibly both
men would have been nonplussed by the clown being discussed as an issue
separate from his relationship with Batman.
He had thought he had done a better job of dealing with his own issues,
but he can't keep his face completely still. "Black Mask?" This is the
question Tim has come to ask Dick.
Is he doing this for justice? For pragmatic reasons? Or is he doing this
"Who said I was done?"
It's still not an answer, and Tim would execute a tactical retreat at
speed if it weren't for the fact that a change of place would change
nothing. Possibly, nothing but a rather radical change to the timeline
would have a significant effect on their situation. It's an idea to
consider for some other time.
"What about Batman?"
Dick gives a very good impression of somebody who is almost succeeding
at faking a clinical, detached analysis. "He doesn't understand Gotham
anymore. He can't... little brother -- We patrol every night and don't
change anything. Joker, Two-Face, Black Mask, Poison Ivy, all of them,
they just keep killing. And we don't stop them."
They have both heard and read similar arguments since before there was
a Robin. Either Dick is stalling, or...
He is going to have to make a decision soon, he knows. "And Robin?"
"I need you, little brother." Nightwing is smiling. The possibilities
hidden in plain sight in that smile are almost terrifying.
The last time he decided to help a good, brave man not become quite
totally insane in his pursuit of justice, Tim had been naive enough
to believe there would be things of himself he wouldn't be required
This time he knows the price better, but it's still the rational...
the only choice. Somebody has to.
He clasps Nightwing's hand and lets himself smile. It's not a fake one,
and he knows that's but the first of many compromises to come.