title: Incidentals: Moving On
fandom: DC Comics
characters/pairings: Dick/Tim, Amy
rating: G
warnings: none
summary: Dick takes the next step (takes place post Incidentals)
notes: inspired by Chicago, who asked millions of years ago to see what happened to Dick after the end of the original fic, and who then got me going with her forays into the uni. ^_^
canon notes: well, Incidentals has always existed in it's own AU hodgepodge of comics and animated series continuity, but as i have borrowed more heavily from the comics, i need to make a small note here. at one point, i mentioned that i would likely have to break away from current NW comic continuity... well this is it. so, declaratively, i am stating that, while Devin Grayson has done some good things with the book, and i don't know what she has planned, for the most part, her work is of the devil, and so the NW comics' influence on this series will end with Chuck Dixon. major points of differentiation... Dick never ran around willy nilly handing out his secret identity, Amy never kicked him off the force, the police force wasn't cleaned up in one big swoop, the 'haven was still overrun with corruption from the mayor's office down, and that secret cabal of good cops that met at the church? they still exist. just fyi. ^_^

The bell rang again. He was walking with a cane now, which actually meant he was a little slower, but also that he could convince Tim to go back to work. Still, he didn't rush. He knew who was at the door, and why she was ringing him every thirty seconds.

He took a deep breath before swinging the door open. Wouldn't do to seem out of breath in front of her. He grinned, opened the door, and shook his cane at her. "What's the matter with you whippersnappers! Can't an old man get his rest these days!?"

Amy folded over with laughter. "God, Grayson, by the time you get old, I'll be decomposing in my grave!"

"Admit it, Rohrback." Dick leaned against the doorjamb. "You want me."

"Of course I do," she sighed, leaning in next to him. "And I've even read of these new drugs that can turn a gay man straight."

"Yeah, they're called arsenic. Nasty side effects, though," he teased her wryly.

"How you doing, boyo?" She asked flippantly, but Dick could see the crinkle in her eyes.

He smiled. "I'm aces, babe. I'm on disability. The world is my oyster. You wanna come in?"

She sighed. "If I must."

They chattered as he led her to the kitchen. If she was thinking anything about how slowly he was moving, she kept it to herself, which told him a lot about how worried she was. He pulled out her chair, and made her coffee the way she liked it, joking about how it was so toxic, it would ruin their cups. She teased him about his interior decorating skills.

Just like any other day.

He sat down, and propped the cane up against the table carefully. She watched him like a hawk, grinning at him. "So, you finally got that third leg you're always bragging about."

"Fourth leg," he corrected her with a grin. "And it won't be forever."

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah, my doctor says I'm looking good. He also says that, medically, I should continue to improve some. The body is amazingly resilient."

She smiled, but there was something reserved about her grin. "But you aren't coming back to the job."

He couldn't say it didn't hurt that she wasn't asking him a question. But he smiled. "Nope, 'fraid not. You're going to have to manage somehow without me. Don't know how, though..."

She laughed. "Well... you have to be careful, though, Dickie. You really had me worried. I'm glad you won't be encountering... any sticky slopes again."

Dick nodded. They had developed a sort of code over the years. There had been many times when he was afraid that Amy would start to suspect him, but the foundation of their relationship, rocky though it began, made it so that by the time she did begin to become suspicious of his afterwork activities, she knew enough not to ask. They trusted each other, which is how he ended up becoming the Soames to her Redhorn. But now, it almost seemed foolish. It wasn't like he could actually expect her to believe he had been in a skiing accident. She had seen Nightwing broken. "No. Not anymore."

She smiled at his sigh, and put her hand on his wrist. "It's ok, you know. You don't have to outlast Superman."

"Never a worry," he reassured her.

"So," she sighed. "What's next?"

"Actually, that's why you're here. I wanted to... sound you out on some ideas." He took a deep breath. He'd practiced this, but he'd never really said any of this out loud. He really hoped that she didn't just laugh in his face. "I was thinking about the future, and what I wanted to do with it, and I was thinking... Well, my first thought was to go to law school, but I'd have to finish college first, and it would just take so long, and then I thought... Maybe I could just work in the DA's office. As a legal secretary, or something. And I could be a liaison to the police as well. Maybe facilitate some of the big busts on the other side of the legal equation." He watched her face carefully. She was good, of course. She didn't give it away. But he could see some hesitation, and a spark of interest.

"Ok. Well, first off, what does Tim think?" Her voice was neutral and flat, and her eyes were clear. Damn, she'd gone into interrogation mode.

"I... was kinda hoping to sound it out with you first, you know, for backup when I talked to Tim..."

She sighed.

"It's not that I don't think that he'd approve!" He backtracked. "But I just wanted to have it all thought out before I brought it to him. I mean, I think he kind of thinks that I've... retired, you know?"

"Playing devil's advocate here... Don't you think he has a right to expect that you have retired? I mean, when you think of all the years you've been on the job, all of them, and all the time he's been left at home, worrying... factoring in, of course, the hours you put in... Why can't you just retire?" There was an edge to her questions that let him know that she wasn't being entirely neutral here.

He leaned forward, clasping his hands together in front of him on the table. "He knew from day one. Hell, he knew from day zero..."

"Knowing it and living it are two different things. And that doesn't even address the question. You've done your time. King and country are served. And now, you won't have a badge or a shield or a... uniform to hide behind. It will be you, mingling with politicians and lawyers working on big time trials that take place in front of cameras. Have you thought about that?"

"That's part of the reason that I think working behind the scenes will be perfect."

"You won't be the star of the show, but your name will be in the credits, and people who know enough about the craft will be able to see your handiwork," she cautioned.

He nodded. "I know. But I think I can do some real good. I have a lot of knowledge and expertise. And I'm good with people. I think I can make a difference."

She shook her head. "You've made a difference. God, you've... I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that every single person in this town has been affected by the good that you've done. Isn't it enough? Whatever penance you're serving, it's paid. You should take your hot young lover off to Copacabana and make mad love to him on the beach. Don't worry about us; we'll muddle through."

"No," he protested. "First off, even if I were done, he's not done. And he's out there in the front lines, as much as I ever was. And second... It's not... it's not even about making the city safe, or how many people I can save. It's not... it's not about salvation at all, except maybe my own. What I lost... it was so huge, Amy. So huge. And when I can prevent that from happening to someone else, when I can right a wrong, so someone else doesn't have to go through that, it... gives me back small part of it. Just a small part of it. So when I see some little kid run and jump into his dad's arms, it's a little part of me that's come back. If I can do it, I need to do it. Otherwise... it's like watching it happen all over again."

She sighed, and put her hands around his. "You must have gotten a lot back by now, though."

He smiled. "It's just a small part."

She nodded. "Well, in that case... I think it's fantastic. I will talk to Jim tomorrow, see what we need to do. You can act as liaison to the Feds, too, keep us up to date on the q-t there. We can coordinate to really make things stick."

He grinned. "Great. Thank you."

She stood up, bending over to kiss his cheek. "Thank you. My god, Dick, I don't know when I've ever been so scared... I'm glad you're ok."

"Aces, babe." He smiled, looking right into her eyes. "Aces." He picked up his cane, working at standing up without seeming too infirm. "How are you?"

She laughed out loud. "Glad you finally remembered to ask! I'm great... We have all this paperwork at the office because some lazy git got himself on disability, and now we have to pick up his slack. Other than that..." She looked him over carefully before speaking. "If you are still praying to the vigilante gods, which I still don't believe in, by the way, you might want to mention the MacLouglin case. We could really use a break - some physical evidence, and excuse to use a warrant, anything."

"I'll light a candle for you," Dick said. It was an old code between them, and it still worked.

"You coming to the church meeting next week? We still want to make an honest man of you..."

"If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times, I'm not getting a sex change operation so I can 'properly' marry Tim. But I'll be there... they have handicapped parking, right?"

"Mooch..." She teased him.

He walked her to the door, keeping a hand at her waist as they went. She gingerly put her arms around him as they parted, kissing his cheek and then turning away fast. He watched her as she got to her car, not really feeling up to walking her to her car door.

As he watched her drive away, he wondered if they had something suitably scrumptious in the kitchen. He needed to make Tim one hell of a dinner if he was going to avoid a major blowout over this.

Maybe he should order in something fancy instead. He wasn't sure his cooking was up to the challenge.