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Planet-Bound Bluebird

Chapter Text

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.

Chapter Text

Dick was swamped, stuck at his desk after his lunch break. Montoya tried to help sort through the evidence, but they weren’t getting anywhere. 

That’s when the door opened, and the entire detective force turned to see a half-asleep Tim Drake-Wayne stumbled into the room. Dick was at his side in seconds, steadying him. 

“Woah Tim.” Dick said, already pulling his zombie brother back to his desk chair. “When was the last time you slept?”

Tim was set into the chair. “What day is it?”

“Oh-Kay.” Dick drew out the word. “You’re taking a nap right now.” He pulled out a cardboard box from under his desk and grabbed out a pillow and a blanket. Montoya raised an eyebrow at him, but he ignored her. 

“Fine.” Tim mumbled, crawling under the desk and getting settled. He wrapped an arm around Dick’s foot as he reclaimed the chair.

It took seven seconds for Tim to fall asleep.

“Back to work!” Dick whispered enthusiastically.

The other detectives stared at the pair of billionaire sons like they were ducks swimming through toxic waste. Montoya shook herself out of her daze first, and pulled up her own chair to get back to work.

A couple of hours passed, and soon the office was pulled from their thoughts to the sound of yawning. Tim climbed up into Detective Grayson’s lap, blinking sleepily and watching his brother work. 

Dick now had to stretch his neck a bit to see around Tim, but he made no complaints as he grabbed a new file.

“Maroni.” Tim said after he had been watching for a bit. “That’s the gang leader you’re looking for.”

Dick smiled, and the two went into a short discussion of why he believed this to be the case. 

“I’m standing up.” Dick informed his lap-brother, who stood and stretched. “Montoya! We’ve got a lead.” He turned back to Tim, ruffling his hair. “You. You’re going straight home. Right. Now . You won’t even think about caffeine for at least the next 24 hours. And you certainly won’t go back to work.”

“But I have a meeting...” Tim checked his watch. “An hour ago.”

“Sleep.” Dick instructed, walking out the door towards his new lead.

~~~~~~~~

When Detective Grayson arrived late to work for the first time, it unnerved his coworkers to no end. He stepped into office exactly fifteen minutes late, with his head down a bit and his demeanor more subdued. He greeted everyone as usual, but went immediately to the TV, clicking it on silently.

The entire office immediately understood.

“We’re live on the scene of the latest attack from the Penguin, who has apparently been sending smaller teams to wear down the dynamic duo and the rest of Gotham’s heroes all night. Only now has he revealed his true intent...” The newscaster kept going.

Dick plopped at his desk. Montoya leaned over. “Are you... okay?”

“Fine.” He replied shortly, and buried himself into his work.

It was only 45 minutes later when someone had finally had enough of the depressing footage and shut off the TV. Dick didn’t complain, but he did pull out his phone, popping an earbud in and continuing the broadcast, glancing over at it every few minutes.

Montoya was just beginning to see the pattern of last week’s robberies when Dick let out a loud exhale.

She shot him a funny look.

“Penguin’s been caught.” He informed her, and she noticed the relieved glances sent Dick’s way, from all around the room.

An hour before the end of their shift, a window was opened from the outside, letting a rare spot of sun in. In stepped Robin, who was carrying a Tupperware container.

“Grayson.” Robin greeted as Dick turned to look at him. 

“Robin!” Dick exclaimed, rushing over. “Wait, why aren’t you in bed?” 

Robin made an odd noise. “I slept a few hours, and I plan to sleep a few more after this. It was just suggested that since Agent A made leftovers in honor of our success, they could be brought over to you.”

“Cookies?” Dick asked with the eyes of a twelve year old. Montoya failed to stifle her grin as he grabbed at the box. “Who’s idea was this?”

Robin cleared his throat as the box was taken from him. “Batman suggested I-“

“No, he didn’t.” Dick informed him, mouth already filled with cookies.

“Red Robin thought it would be-“

“Uh-uh. He would definitely be here right now.”

Robin huffed. “I did. Okay?”

The superhero-detective’s smile widened to cover his entire face, but all he said was “Okay.”

There was a beat of silence.

“I’m going to go back to sleep now.” Robin informed him, bowing once before hopping out the window.

“Thank you!” Dick called to the retreating hero. “Renee! You want a cookie?”

After a moment, she grabbed a handmade cookie from the box. “I didn’t realize you were so close with Robin.”

They sat back down at their desks. 

“I thought Robin was supposed to stick with Batman.” Montoya tipped her head at him.

“Well, then we better be close. I was the Batman that trained him.”

A spit-take could be heard from the far end of the room. 

“You were BATMAN?” Detective Baker asked from his desk.

Dick shrugged, but there was a glint in his eye that said he knew the gravity of his words. “Only for a few years. Bats took back over, but I was happy… Well… willing… to fill in.”

Detective Chance rustled through the files on Batman's companions. “Here! I knew it! An almost two year long gap where Nightwing wasn’t seen for more than a night at a time.”

Dick’s smile fell into something more serious. “I couldn’t give up Nightwing completely. I know you don’t need me to tell you, but Batman is pretty… negative.” His voice turned to a whisper only Montoya could hear. “I couldn’t be like him.”

The conversation stagnated, and everyone slowly got back to work.

~~~~~~~~

Detective Grayson was brewing some coffee in the break room, pulling everyone in with a wild story about Batman fighting off a rogue AI when a new face rolled in. 

The commissioner’s daughter, Barbara Gordon. She listened quietly for a minute.

“And then, Babs ran back in the building, and single-handedly took out all the robots!” Dick was saying.

“That’s not what happened!” Barbara complained, wheeling herself over. “And why are you telling that story, you weren’t even there.

“It’s a good story!” Dick countered, leaning towards her. “It’s so much more interesting to hear stories about civilians.”

Montoya piped up. “I disagree, I think all your stories are great.” A chorus of agreements echoed through the kitchen.

“Besides,” Barbara continued. “That’s not even what happened.” 

“Then, what happened?” Chance asked, pulling a pad of paper out of his pocket.

“Well I...” Babs started. “I held my ground until Batman got there.” After a pause she added, “I was terrified. I’m glad I don’t have to do that again; one adventure was enough for me.”

The detectives all nodded sagely, except for Dick who looked... pained. Montoya blinked and the expression was gone, replaced with a grin and a nudge.

“Yeah, you get enough adventures in Love Refuses To Die, don’t-cha?” Dick asked, immediately turning and fleeing.

Barbara sputtered, “Did you go through my computer? Get BACK HERE RICHARD GRAYSON.” She wheeled herself after him, keeping pace on their way out.

(Cass)

One night, the entire Batclan and police force were stretched thin taking care of a large string of robberies. Most targets were 24-hour convenience stores, but there were a couple outliers.

One such outlier was the Denny’s that Montoya and Grayson had been sent out to take care of. 

As the pair arrived on the scene, a shadow passed over the passenger side window. Exiting the car, Montoya identified the shadow as Black Bat, who stood a few meters away, watching.

“BB!” Detective Grayson smiled, walking over to the vigilante. “Here to lend a hand?”

She nodded. 

Grayson patted her head, and then began giving orders, turning back to Montoya for approval. “Uh, yeah,” she responded, flustered.

“Then let’s get these-“ he cut himself off. “Jerks.” 

Black Bat nodded and everyone jumped into action.

After throwing the perps into the car, Montoya checked in on the radio to see if they were needed elsewhere. Luckily, it seemed the fights were wrapping up all across the city. She tuned back into the conversation the other two were having, hunched and whispering.

“How’s your reading comprehension going? Still keeping it up?”

Black Bat nodded, pointing to the restaurant sign. “Denny’s. 5.99. Pancakes.”

Grayson smiled, wrapping an arm around her for a side hug. “You’re doing great.” He noticed Montoya then, and gestured her over. “Montoya! You got anything you want to ask Black Bat? This might be your only chance.”

Black Bat’s eyes widened, grabbing his shoulders. “Dick...”

“It’s good practice. You have to do this part of the job too. And besides, you don’t want to end up like Hood. A good relationship with a police officer is invaluable.”

She poked his chest. “I have you.”

He shrugged. “What if I’m out of town?”

She stayed silent, and Montoya stepped closer.

This probably was her only chance to speak with the notoriously silent hero. She’d only said a handful of words today and it was still the most Montoya had ever heard out of her. 

“Um. Ms Black Bat? Thank you for helping us. I don’t think we could’ve caught that last guy if you weren’t covering the exit, so thanks.”

Dick Grayson leaned back on the hood of the cop car, watching.

“You’re welcome.” Black Bat fidgeted with her gloves.

“Actually, do you have a way I can contact you? You know, in case I get in over my head?”

Black Bat nodded, and soon the two had organized an alert system, heads bent in close to Montoya’s phone. Dick just watched them, grinning.

Chapter Text

Detective Grayson had only been at work for an hour when a pile of papers slammed on his desk, followed quickly by a blonde girl at her wits’ end.

“Help me with my homework.” She demanded.

“Steph? I’m working!” He gestured to his desk, which was empty save for his computer, his hot cocoa, and the papers Steph had placed there. 

“Your computer’s turned off.”

Montoya decided to step in. “Who’s this, Grayson?”

“Oh! This is Stephanie Brown. She’s Tim’s ex-girlfriend, and a good friend of the family.” Grayson gestured, forcing a smile. “And Steph, this is my partner, Detective Renee Montoya.”

“Pleasure.” Stephanie didn’t smile. “Dick, help me with my homework.”

“I can’t. I’m on the clock, why don’t you ask Jay-“ He stumbled through the name. “Jame... eson.”

“Todd Jameson you mean?” Stephanie asked, a grin flashing across her face. “He’s out of town, haven’t you heard?”

“No I haven’t.” Grayson kept an air of pleasantry as real as a toy key.

“Well then.” Stephanie leaned closer. “How about you help me instead?”

He sighed. “Can it wait until I’m off work?”

“When’s that?”

“Five O’Clock.”

“Sure.” She agreed easily. “I’ll be back at five-sharp” She walked off without a second glance.

Montoya looked over at Grayson. “Is that... normal?”

A small smile slid over his lips. “I love her a lot. It’s too bad she’s always so terrible with timing.” 

“That doesn’t answer my question Grayson.”

“Yeah, that’s pretty much how it goes for us.”

“Alright then.” Montoya nodded once and got back to her mind numbing paperwork.

~~~~~~~~

Renee Montoya and Dick Grayson were an hour into a stakeout when the pair noticed a glint of yellow from the opposite roof. 

“Is that...” Montoya started.

“Signal!” Grayson confirmed with a grin. “Looks like he’s watching the same guy we are.”

“Huh.”

There was a lull in the conversation.

Dick finally made up his mind. “I’m gonna call him.”

“What?!? Don’t-“ Montoya was too late, Dick already had the phone to his ear. He held up a finger.

“Signal, hey buddy. ... Well, look down.” He waved to the rooftop. “Yeah. You looking for Bobbin Fulbright too? Okay cool. Hey, why aren’t you using the stealth feature? I’m sure A put one in- Well turn it on and get down here! We’ve got DONUTS.”

He ended the call, setting the phone down and smiling at his partner. 

“You just called The Signal down here to join our stakeout.” Montoya said, deadpan.

A shrug. “Why not? He’s practically a brother to me.”

Montoya blinked at him. “You really know everyone in the Bat Clan don’t you.”

Dick grins and nods.

“Red Robin?”

“Of course.”

“Batgirl?”

“No doubt.”

“Batwoman?”

“Well, we don’t see her very often, but she answers my calls so...”

“Bluebird?”

“Sure! She’s actually pretty good friends with Signal, if you want to ask him about her.”

Montoya was silent for a moment. “Catwoman?” She asked finally.

“Oh don’t even get me started about Catwoman. Does she even count as a bat? Eh, who cares. She’s been turning over a new leaf for a while and I think it’s finally sticking. I’m really proud of her.”

“Isn’t she older than you?” 

“Ha! Absolutely!”

It was then that a man in a black leather suit and biker helmet knocked on the door of the car. Montoya unlocked the backdoor and a cloaked Signal stepped inside. She maneuvered herself to look at him. 

“Doesn’t your helmet have ears?”

Signal laughed, hitting a button on his arm. Small ears appeared on top of his helmet before he retracted them again.

Silence.

“It’s okay Signal, she’s with me. This is my partner Renee Montoya. I’ve told you about her before.” Dick coaxed.

“Right uh.” Signal held out a hand. “Nice to meet you, Ms Montoya.”

“The feeling’s mutual.” She replied, returning the handshake.

Dick kept an eye on the apartment building as he spoke. “So... any questions?”

Montoya grinned. “You got any embarrassing stories about my partner, Signal?”

Signal leaned back. “Uh I don’t think-“ 

“Of course you do!” Grayson answered. “What about that grappling hook fiasco in the batcave?”

Batcave? ” Montoya raised her eyebrows.

“If you’re okay with me telling-“ Signal was cut off with a sneeze.

Grayson’s smile disappeared.

“Signal...”

“Dick?” 

“Are you sick?”

“I wouldn’t say I’m sick exactly-“ Signal was cut off by another sneeze.

Dick turned to face him, matching eyes with his visor. “You need to rest.”

“It’s just a cold. I’ve heard hundreds of stories of you and Bats pushing through worse.”

Dick put a hand on Signal’s shoulder. “Yeah, but I was a kid who didn’t know better, and B was-“

“B. I get it. He’s able to do that.” 

“No.” Dick told him. “It was unhealthy. It still is, it’s just now we can all pick up the slack and chain him to his bed till he gets better. Go home. We got this.”

Montoya spoke up. “He’s right. Rest is invaluable for catching criminals.”

“I’d rather catch criminals than colds!” Dick showed his teeth, and the other two groaned.

“I’ve actually already taken a nap today.” Signal informed them both. “And A gave me some cold medicine before we left. Give me another twenty minutes, please? Batgirl and Black Bat are the only ones at the cave, and I’m too tired to watch them make wistful eyes at each other.”

Grayson raised his eyebrows, but a small smile stayed on his lips. “Alright. Twenty minutes. I’m setting a timer.”

“Yessssss!” Signal exclaimed, pumping his fist.

“So, how much can I ask about these A and B people you keep talking about? I think B might be Batman, right?” Montoya asked, keeping her eyes on the apartment as Grayson set his alarm.

“Yeah.” Signal smiled, waving a hand around. “B, Bats, Batman, it’s all the same to us.”

“Hmmm.” Dick put a finger to his lip. “How do I explain it? It’s like, Batman is his more official name, Bats is for friends and enemies alike, and B is reserved for us.”

“Why is that?” Montoya asked.

“Well B isn’t quite the same as Batman. It’s like, there’s a certain performance he has to put on as Batman, and B is more how he actually is.”

“So he’s not a grumpy lone wolf in real life?”

Signal laughed. “Oh no. He’s definitely that. It’s just...”

“Softer.” Dick supplied.

“Yeah. Like, he’s terrible with people stuff, but at least he’s trying.” 

“He wasn’t always like that. He used to not know how to separate the cowl from himself.” Dick told Montoya, and she glanced over to him staring off in the distance.

“Sorry.” Montoya told him.

“No, it’s fun.” Dick said. “Talking about all this, I mean. I used to only have A to talk with about it, but he always had some sage wisdom that I didn’t always want to hear.”

“I guess when you were Batman, you had a D persona, huh?” Montoya elbowed him.

Dick’s eyes brightened. “Absolutely! I am D. And my little brother Damian is little D. And my little brother Duke is 3D! Damian only likes people on Team D, and his sister Cass. Have I told you about my siblings?” He asked them both.

“Excessively.” Montoya told him.

“I already know of ‘em.” Signal lightly punched Dick’s shoulder. “Anyway, what about the second half of her question? She wanted to know about Agent A.” He sneezed once.

“Ah. Well A stands for Assistant. He’s in charge of keeping everything running. He doesn’t go out into the field, but he helps sew up bullet holes, cleans suits, pretty much everything. He keeps the whole team together.”

Signal nods. “He’s the grease.”

“I see.” Montoya said. 

Signal had just finished telling the grappling hook story when the woman they were waiting for showed up. 

“Alright, you won.” Dick told Signal. “With only five minutes to spare.”

The three leapt into action to apprehend the culprit.

~~~~~~~~

Detective Dick Grayson had caught the flu. He even called in sick to work, and Montoya wondered how much of that choice was proving his own point to Signal.

Nevertheless, she felt obligated to do something to help him get better. So she drove over to his apartment with a thermos full of chicken noodle soup, a classic in her mind, and knocked on his door.

When there was no answer, she tried the handle, which made a click and then opened. “Unlocked door?” Montoya notes with a frown, stepping into the room.

“Dick? Are you here?”

“No. But I am.”

A feminine voice echoed through the room, seemingly coming from the ceiling.

“Who’s there!” Montoya demanded.

“Relax. It’s me, Oracle.”

“I don’t know who that is.”

“Really? Dick never talked about me?” Oracle asked, her voice bouncing. “Well, I’m the tech genius behind the Bat Clan.”

“What does that mean?”

“It *means* I’m the person they talk to over their comms, as well as the one who creates and monitors their security systems, like Dick’s house, for example, which I just let you into.”

“Wait... Oracle...” Montoya searches her mind for the name. “Oh! *You’re* the other end of their comms? I always thought Oracle was just Bat-Google or an AI program.”

“Some days I feel like one. But nope, still a person.”

Montoya sighed, beginning to accept that things were always going to be a little strange around her partner.

“Alright then. Can I just leave this soup for Grayson then?”

“You could...” Oracle drawled. “Or... you could bring it over to him. He’s at Wayne Manor right now. Do you need directions?”

“No, I can find it.” Montoya turned to leave before realizing what she had agreed to. She turned back. “I mean, I’ll go see him. Uh. Thank you Oracle.” She left before she could say anything else.

Chapter Text

The road up to Wayne Manor was winding and surprisingly unkempt for such an expensive building. Montoya parked out front, rang the doorbell, and waited. The sound didn’t even completely fade before the butler opened the door.

“Ah, Miss Renee Montoya, I presume?” The man asked, and continued at her nod. “I am Alfred Pennyworth. Am I to assume you are here to see Master Dick?”

Montoya took a moment. “Yes.”

“Right this way.”

He didn’t say anything more, so they took the steps together in silence. After two flights of stairs, Alfred led her to a hallway with laminated drawings with names on the doors.

She caught Duke’s name, which was hand-drawn in yellow, green, and red bubble letters. Cass was written once in clear letters, repeated many times messily below. Damian’s was printed, surrounded by sketches of animals. A second name picture was under his other, drawn similarly but with less skill and fewer creatures. 

She could hear a TV and some talking coming from further down the hallway.

She continued past Tim’s room, which had printed cyberpunk clipart. There was a second page hidden under it, probably from when he was younger. Then, she saw Jason’s room. It had a halfway decent scrawl for his name, along with some trees and a crude drawing of the manor. But what really stood out was the knife cut through the middle of it. 

A scar. Montoya thought to herself. In the family that has everything .

Dick’s room had five laminated nameplates, put together to make a plus sign. There was a progression. She saw two drawings from his childhood, one with a circus theme and the other with Dick and Bruce together at a dinner table. Next was one that had been printed out, a selfie of Dick with a smaller boy Montoya identified as Jason, both grinning. Dick’s name was above the pair in flashy blue block letters. She didn’t get to examine the others as Alfred opened the door, revealing almost the entire Wayne family hanging out and watching TV together.

Dick Grayson was in bed, propped up by a mountain of pillows and sandwiched between Damian Wayne and Duke Thomas, who both had Dick’s arms around their shoulders. Stephanie Brown and Tim Drake-Wayne were sitting on the floor together, leaning back on the foot of the bed. Cassandra Cain was laying on her belly at the foot of the bed, one arm draped down to touch Steph’s shoulder. There was a man with black hair and a white tuft leaning against the window. She didn’t recognize him.

Alfred faded from the room.

Dick turned to see her and his eyes brightened. “Renee! What are you doing here?” He coughed a couple times, and the unknown man stepped over to hand him a tissue. Montoya watched her partner for a moment; the slow movements, the pallor of his skin, his red eyes, all showed how sick he really was. “Anyway, everyone, meet Detective Renee Montoya. Renee, meet Duke, Cass, Damian, Steph, Tim and...” Dick had been pointing at everyone in turn, but he stopped at the man at the window.

“Todd Jameson.” Steph supplied, unable to suppress a laugh.

The man raised his eyebrows, but he said nothing.

“Right. Todd Jameson.” Dick tried.

“That’s not his real name, is it?” Montoya asked. 

“No.”

‘Todd’ rolled his eyes. “You guys worry too much. If she figures out who I am, who cares? Can’t ruin my life if I don’t have one.”

“You have a life, Todd.” Damian informed him. “It’s purposefully messing with our life.”

“You looking to get hurt, runt?” Todd asked, leaning forward.

“Guys!” Dick raised his voice as he was able. “No fighting while I’m sick. I don’t have the energy to stop you.”

There was grumbling, but the boys made no more moves to attack each other.

“Good.” Dick turned back to Montoya. “Ooo, what’s in the thermos?”

She handed it over. “Chicken noodle soup.” 

“NICE.” He made grabby hands over Duke’s head, and Montoya passed it over.

“What are you watching?” She asked.

“We’re watching as much of Dick’s old hero days as we can find.” Tim told her, pulling up a laptop to type something in.

“It’s been kinda tough though,” Steph told Montoya, “Since the press usually arrive late at the scene.”

“That’s why I’m the best man for the job.” Tim informed the group. “I’ve been compiling Robin highlights for years

They watched for a while. Mostly it was blurry helicopter shots of alley fights but intercut with shots of Robin answering questions to the camera. Even Batman chimed in with a few words every once in a while.

“Wait, go back.” Dick instructed, and Tim hit a button on the keyboard to rewind the video a few seconds. The screen was paused on a faraway shot of Robin fighting the Penguin. “That’s not me. That’s-“

“Me.” Todd informed them.

“Wait what?” Montoya’s mouth hung open. “ You were Robin?” Todd just nodded once.

“How can you tell?” Steph asked, and both men raised eyebrows at her.

“Too short.” Dick informed her, while Todd said “I remember it.”

Todd took in his fellow Robin’s comment. “Hey wait, Dickie. I’m pretty sure you were that small at more than a few points.”

“You’re forgetting to take into account Penguin’s first appearance.” Duke informed him. “Penguin didn’t start villainy until I was six, so Dick must have been...”

“Fifteen. Of course!” Tim face-palmed before beginning some notes in his laptop.

Cass reached her remaining hand down to tap Tim on the shoulder. “Got any other highlights?” She asked him.

Montoya watched all the eyes in the room soften. 

“Of course, Cass.” Tim told her. “How about a more broad ‘All Bats and Those Affiliated’ one?”

She nodded and settled back in while Tim pulled up the video.

Todd rolled his eyes, but he was smiling. Unfortunately, he seemed like the kind of guy who always wants to pick a fight. “You guys don’t ever pamper me like you do Cass.”

“Cain is the best among us and you will treat her with respect.” Damian spat out, falling into Todd’s trap.

“Besides, maybe if you tried to stay alive for longer you’d get that pampering.” Duke smiled.

“Burn.” Cass informed everyone.

“Thanks Cass.” Duke poked her with his foot. She nodded dutifully at him.

“That’s it. You’re all uninvited to my next funeral.” Todd told them.

“Duke! What did we talk about?” Dick asked his brother. “Don’t set him up for death jokes!”

Duke rubbed a hand behind his head. “Sorry Dick, but...”

“But you didn’t bribe your brother enough.” Todd said with a smile, leaning over the bed to give Duke a twenty.

Dick gasped. “Traitor.”

To his credit, Duke was sheepish as he slid the money into his pocket, but Montoya’s Brain was still trying to catch up.

“Wait.” She said, and everyone looked at her. “You died once. You were Robin 2.”

“I like to say Robin the Sequel, but go on.” Todd told her.

“Are you Red Hood?”

Todd grinned. “Haha yeah.”

“You know what else I’m thinking?”

“That the fake name Steph came up with was terrible?” Todd asked.

“To be fair,” Steph interjected, “Big D’s the one who used it first.”

“I’m not the one who came up with Todd .” Dick countered.

“Everyone shut up!” Montoya commanded. “Are you Jason Todd?”

There was an eruption of exclamations. More than a hundred dollars were exchanged, most of them going to Montoya’s partner. 

“Well now that we’re done with that, may we watch the video now?” Damian asked, impatient.

“What video?” Bruce Wayne asked from the doorway. 

“Ah! Bruce!” Dick exclaimed. “Tim has a video of a bunch of Gotham news footage! We were watching the ones of my old Robin days before, but I think now it’s gonna be ones with all of the Bat Clan.” 

“Okay.” Bruce said. “May I stay and watch?”

“Absolutely.” Steph replied with a smile.

Bruce walked over to Montoya, shaking her hand. “You must be Dick’s partner, Renee Montoya right? It’s nice to meet you.”

Montoya just nodded. There was something different about him, compared to how he usually carried himself on TV. He was still pleasant, but it was muted. He stepped over and sat next to Tim on the floor.

“Okay, are we thinking cool or funny?” Tim asked, looking to Cass.

She just shrugged, so Todd, Jason , responded, “Funny. I want to see that ass Batman wipe out.”

“Hey!” Dick called out, and Jason grumbled, handing over a dollar.

Montoya watched for a few more minutes before heading towards the door. 

Bruce turned to look at her as she left. “It was nice to meet you, Miss Montoya. I’m glad you’re taking care of my son.”

“I’m just doing my job, Mister Wayne.” Montoya smiled then, stepping out of the room, listening to the Wayne family laughter as she left.