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Planet-Bound Bluebird

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Dick Grayson was an enigma.

He was a circus kid turned billionaire’s son who would lay his life down for anyone he met. And they would do the same for him.

He appeared at charity events as often as he could. He always seemed to sport a new injury. He was an officer who would give you a speeding ticket with a wink.

Then, he was unmasked, and the world found out he had been moonlighting as the vigilante Nightwing.

And he became an enigma of a different sort.

Renee Montoya was a by-the-books detective who had recently lost her partner to retirement. 

She had overheard Commissioner Gordon and Detective Bullock talking about their plan to promote Grayson a week before the reveal of his vigilante identity.

After the reveal, she was brought in as a second pair of eyes for Dick Grayson’s interrogation. 

Watching through one-way glass, she saw his polygraph test with Gordon.

“I’m not telling you the rest of the team’s identities.” Dick stated, his voice rigid.

Gordon waved his comment away with a hand. “That’s not why you’re here.”

Dick paused. “Then, why?”

“Well, we were thinking of promoting you.”

The officer’s jaw dropped. Excitement flashed across his face, but was quickly replaced with anger. “...Because I know Batman?"

The commissioner scoffed at this. “No, we’ve been talking about your promotion for the past month, it has nothing to do with your... affinity for nightlife.” Gordon sat in front of Dick, whose shoulders relaxed considerably.

“Okay.” Dick said. “I’m ready.”

~~~~~~~~

It only took a month for Renee Montoya to catch wind of the betting pool. It happened on a Tuesday, around lunchtime. She walked into the kitchen and found her coworkers discussing something… odd.

“C’mon Chance!” Detective Baker complained. “Four Robins? You’re crazy!”

“I’m telling you! There’s a large gap during what you claim to be the second Robin’s run.” Chase shook some papers at the other detectives. “See? They’re all different!”

Detective Liu rolled her eyes. “There’s no way. Why would they keep going by the same name? Or keep the same costume?”

“I have evidence that Robin didn’t always wear a hood...” Detective Chance tried.

“You guys’re betting on how many Robins there were?” Montoya asked.

Liu nodded. “Baker, Boone, and I think it’s two or less, and Chase is claiming three or more. Wanna tap in?”

Montoya frowned, her lips squishing to one side of her face. “Sure,” she said finally. “Set me down for that 3-or-more slot, 40 dollars.”

“Woah.” Boone’s jaw dropped open as Montoya slammed the bills down.

And that was exactly when Dick Grayson walked in with a subway sandwich in each hand.

“What’s going on here?” He asked, scooting a chair over and sitting down.

Liu nudged Montoya under the table. “He’s your partner.” She whispered.

Montoya rolled her eyes.

“Okay...?” Dick turned to leave.

“It’s just a bet.” Montoya explained. “We’re trying to figure out how many Robins there’s been.”

Dick turned back with a stunned expression. “One Robin? Do I get to know who thought that?”

“After you tell us.” Boone told him.

Dick leaned back. “Okay. Well, there were four of us.” 

Sounds of anger and regret filled the room, interspersed with Chase’s cheers. 

Liu focused in. “Wait, us?”

“Yeah.”

“What does that mean?” She pressed.

“It means that I was Robin?” Dick’s eyebrows furrowed together.

The room exploded with surprise.

“Huh. I’d have thought it was pretty obvious. I mean, Nightwing appeared less than a week after the first Robin disappeared.” He shrugged.

“You were the first Robin?” Someone asked.

“How much homework did you guys do?” Dick asked.

“Loads!” Chase said. 

“None.” The others sighed.

“There’s no other time frame that makes sense.” Dick continued. “Two was too young to be me, three definitely was, and now four is just… Still a kid.”

“I guess we did forget to take growth into account.” Boone admitted.

“There’s probably no records of stuff like that.” Montoya reasoned.

“So tell us.” Liu pulled the conversation. “When exactly are the breaks?”

Dick started in on a story that lasted the rest of their break. “Well, it all began when I was eight years old...”

~~~~~~~~

Detective Montoya was finally getting used to her partner and his… eccentricities.

Dick Grayson was a good cop, sure. He always got to work early and clocked out late. He made coffee whenever he was in the office. He could chase a perp like no one else, both on wheels and on foot.

But... he also devoured donuts like they were about to be banned. He was terrible at communicating, and then gets momentarily confused when you don’t just know * what he’s thinking. His siblings pop by at random times to request attention. Just last week he had to step out early when his sister Cass stopped by.

And then there were his vigilante friends.

God, how Montoya wanted to understand what went through their heads.

It was a Friday night, and she and Grayson were the only ones left at the office. There’d been a string of robberies and they hadn’t found a pattern yet.

The rain was heavy outside, so neither of them heard when someone landed outside the office window.

The rapping on the glass stirred both detectives, and Dick was at the window in seconds. He looked out to see Red Hood on the landing, and quickly opened the window to usher him inside.

“That’s... Red Hood.” Montoya stated, trying desperately to gather her bearings. “Is he bleeding?”

Dick forced Red Hood to lean on him, and Montoya helped them both to the nearest seat.

“Hey Dickie.” He greeted, his voice hoarse.

“What are you doing here!?” Dick was yelling now, as he rummaged through his desk for bandages.

The wounded man shrugged. “You weren’t at your apartment.”

I’m working. ” Dick gritted out as he carried his supplies back. “Why aren’t you with Alfie?”

Red Hood said nothing as Montoya began to pull off his blood stained jacket.

“Oh, we are so talking about this later.” Dick threw out, but started to dress his wounds all the same. 

Montoya helped, but there wasn't much to do but hold the gauze as she watched the two men.

“You have… a lot of scars.” She noted quietly.

Both turned to look at her, and she looked away. 

“Psh.” Hood brushed it off, gesturing to Dick. “You should see this guy.” 

Dick raised an eyebrow as he began to stitch up a knife wound. “I will not for a single second let my partner think I have more scars than you do.”

“Well, I guess mine are more obvious.” Red Hood compromised. “I mean, have you seen my face?” He was still wearing his helmet.

Dick winced, but kept at his work. 

“I mean, it’s what I get for dying.” Hood admitted. Dick’s sewing needle dug too far into the skin. “Ow!”

“I am positive we agreed that you’re only allowed to joke about your death if someone sets you up.”

“Dying?” Montoya asked, and when the helmet points her way she can almost imagine he’s grinning.

Dick ignored them both, opting instead to put a hand on the helmet. “Are you wearing your mask? I wanna check your head while I have you.”

“When don’t I wear my mask?” Hood retorted.

“Hmmm... I recall more than a few times when you wanted to be ‘dramatic’.” There’s laughter back in his voice. “Like when you first started using your new name and showed me and B under the hood-”

“Alright! Point taken.” Red Hood began removing his helmet.

“Aw, Little Wing, don’t get snappy on me. I’ll tell B.”

The helmet clattered to the floor and sitting before the detectives was a masked man with black and white hair. 

“You can’t keep holding that over my head!” Red Hood complained while Dick ran fingers through his hair, looking for bruising. “I’m an adult. Batman doesn’t scare me anymore.”

“I still have my doubts that he ever did.”

“What do you mean?” Montoya was trying to focus on the conversation. 

“Red Hood met Batman when he tried to steal the wheels off the Batmobile.” 

The woman’s mouth hung open.

“Tried? I got three of the tires off before he came back.” Hood pointed out.

The conversation lulled. Dick ruffled Hood’s hair.

“Seriously though, why’d you come?” Dick crouched to be eye level with Red Hood. “You could have taken care of those injuries on your own. You have before, actually. So what’s up?”

Hood mumbled something incoherent into his chest.

“What?” Dick and Montoya asked.

“I miss you, okay!” He leaned forward, glaring. “Without you flipping around Gotham and Bludhaven, the only other option is...” 

Dick carefully broke out into a huge grin, slowly pulling Hood into a hug, who stiffened but accepted it. “Well, thanks for visiting then.” 

Hood’s face was pressed into Dick’s chest. He pushed away after a moment. “Alright alright, I’m not a little kid anymore.”

“Nonsense.” Dick brushed away the thought. “You’ll always be a kid. Just like Tim and Damian and Cass and Duke…”

That received a chuckle. “Don’t bring your weird siblings into this.”

“Ah ha! So you admit it! We are siblings.”

Hood raised an eyebrow, but was still laughing. “Yeah, I guess you win. Tim, Damian, Duke, and Cass are your siblings.”

“Don’t forget Jason.” Dick was smiling, but his eyes began to well up.

After a moment Hood said, “Yeah, him too.”

The two shared one more goofy smile before Red Hood put his helmet back on and hopped out of the window, back into the rain.