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I was daydreaming on my drive to work and decided to play with my favorite team.


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“Please,” she begged. “Please don’t hurt me!”

The man shoved her against the building, “Shut up!”

She sobbed as he grappled with the waistband of her pants.  The brick bit into her cheek, but she hardly noticed.  The fear wiped everything away.

Suddenly he pulled away.

She heard him holler.  Looking over her shoulder she saw black feathers.  There was a brief violent struggle.  The wings flew away and the man lay on the ground bleeding.  She didn’t wait to see if he was alive.

A file landed on his desk.  Dick looked up at his captain.

“Another one Grayson,” she barked.

He flipped open the folder.  “Victim, lacerations to face, neck & shoulders; Rap sheet contains multiple assault & mugging charges.  Claims attacker fell from the sky.”  Quickly he flipped through the photos.  Deep cuts on the shoulders were clean lines like from knives.  Dick picked up the only interesting item in the folder holding it up to the light.  A black feather shimmered a deep purple.

“Do you think it is a calling card?” the captain asked.

“I don’t know,” Dick answered.  “They aren’t at every site. It still appears to be random, if it is connected at all.  They could be using the birds to distract the victim when they attack.”

Nightwing left the thug tied up in the alley.  He’d make sure someone came by and collected him.  The woman had already run away.  He was just preparing to leave when he saw it.  Perched on the fire escape, hidden in the shadows; black eyes watched him.  A large black bird holding perfectly still, he could almost feel its stare.

He dodged to the side knocking the knife away.  A loud screech sounded behind him and he ducked low, a knife whistled through the air above him.  He kicked the attacker’s legs out from under him.

His opponents lay on the ground around him.  He looked up at the roof line to the bird perched there.  “Thanks for the heads up, buddy.”

As Nightwing flew through the city, occasionally he would catch sight of black wings.

Nightwing hung exhausted from his restraints; he could barely focus on the boasting speech of the man pointing a gun at his chest.  His only hope was that Batman would answer his distress call in time, but it was a long way from Gotham to Bloodhaven.  The odds were not good.

Vaguely he realized the man was standing before him.  He didn’t have the strength to look him in the eye.

Dick felt the brush of feathers across his face.

“What the hell!” the man screamed.  He heard the gun hit the floor.  Blood ran across the floor to pool at his feet.  The deep red was all that he could focus on.

He must have passed out, because the next thing he knew Batman was lifting him into his arms.

“Bruce,” Nightwing looked up at his mentor.  “Thanks for coming.”

Next time he woke, he was in his own bed.  Batman stood on the balcony, the doors wide open letting in the night air.

Dick groaned as he pulled himself to a sitting position.

Bruce turned to look at him.

“Thank you,” Dick said, “You must have arrived just in time.”

“No,” Bruce answered. “I didn’t.”

Dick frowned at him.  “What do you mean?”

“When I arrived the man was already dead.  His Carotid artery had been cut open.”


“Based on your injuries it’s obvious you were chained to the wall, but you were laying on the ground when I found you.”  Batman looked back out over the balcony.  “You also have an observer.  It followed us here and has been watching me.”

Ignoring the pain, Dick got off the bed and stumbled to lean against the balcony door jam.  A light rain was falling.  Across the street, perched on the roof, looking drenched and miserable, was his recent feathered companion.  Their eyes met, it gave an exhausted nod and flew off.

“He has been following me around for a couple months now.”

“Well, I believe that explains your mysterious rescuer.”

Dick nodded, “but how did he get me down from the wall?”

“There is probably much more to that bird than its unusual size.”

Nightwing picked the tracker up from the balcony.  He knew it had been a long shot, but he’d had to try.  It was obvious that the bird was much too intelligent to not notice the tracker on his leg.  His fingers closed around it; somehow he needed to find out more about him.


Dick stopped on the steps outside the prescient and turned to his captain.

“Any progress on those alley attacks?”

“They have slowed down, only a few in the last month.  All of the victims are men with records or history of violent behavior.  As far as I can tell it looks like they are being attacked in the middle of a crime.”

“Well, the last guy was a high ranking mob member, so this case is about to get some real attention.”

“According to the lab all the feathers came from the same-“

“Holy Shit!” The captain gasped.  “That is the largest raven I have ever seen.”

Dick looked behind him.  Perched on the parking meter next to his car was a familiar black bird.  His eyes narrowed and he sighed in annoyance.  “You know, don’t you?” he said quietly to himself.

Nightwing heard the scream, by the time he reached the alley a woman came running out.  He pulled out his sticks and quietly made his way into the darkness.  With a blink he turned on the night vision.  Two figures were struggling on the ground. A black cloak covered the top figure.  The man on bottom screamed in pain.

“Stop!” Nightwing yelled.

The cloaked figure looked at him.  He saw the outline of a nose and chin.  There was a flurry of black feathers and the figure was gone.

Dick compared the two feathers before him.  They were from the same creature.  The raven that followed him was the same one attacking villains across town.  With the exception of the man who had tried to kill him, all of the rest were still alive.  It wasn’t a murderer by nature.  Neither was is just an animal.  There was a person inside that creature.

“How is your partner?” Batman asked.

Nightwing looked over to the other side of the rooftop where Raven perched still and silent.  “Pretty good, I can’t complain too much, he has my back.”

“Have you learned any more about it?”

“Not much, it is human and has a real sensitive spot for women being attacked in alleys”

“If it’s human, then it must live somewhere.”

“Yeah well, it turns out that if you can fly it is much easier to lose your pursuer.  He knows where I live and work, but I haven’t been able to return the favor yet.”  Nightwing scanned the night, listening carefully.  Raven suddenly took to the air.  He followed close behind.  He could tell by the speed with which Raven flew, that he expected him to follow.  “I’m hoping,” he continued into the mike, “if I can win his trust, he’ll confide in me of his own accord.”

Nightwing realized too late, it was a trap.  Raven had gone in ahead of him, taking the attacker to the ground.  The woman pulled a gun.

“Raven!” Nightwing shouted, throwing a wingblade.  He was a second too late.  A shot rang out and a woman screamed.

Dick looked down at the woman in his bed.  The shot had caught her in the right shoulder; luckily it hadn’t hit anything vital.  The cloak of feathers lay beneath her, it was a living part of her body, sprouting from the top of her shoulders.  Working around it had been very difficult, but he had wrapped and bound her wounds the best he could.  The white sheets were pulled up around her nude form.

He sat nearby just watching her breath.

Her eye flew open and she stared at him with deep violet eyes amid the dark cloud of her hair and feathers.

He half expected her to leap from the bed and throw herself off the balcony.
Nightwing held still in his chair, not wanting to make any sudden moves that might frighten her.  “You were shot.  I bound your wound and brought you to my home.”  Her look was empty and unblinking.  “You’ve been here before and I thought you would prefer that to the hospital.”

She blinked once.

“Now that you are awake, the bathroom is through there,” he pointed to the door. “I am going to the kitchen to make something to eat.” He pointed to the door on the opposite side of the room.  Carefully he got up and left the room.  He had made sure the balcony doors were locked from the outside, in case she decided to be crazy and jump while his back was turned.

He placed the burgers on the table next to the simple salad he had tossed.  Raven came out of the bedroom wearing one of his button up shirts.  It rode just below her shoulders, under her cape, showing the bandages on her right shoulder.  It came down to her knees, modestly covering her.

He motioned to the chair opposite him.  Not waiting for her, he sat and started to fix his burger.  Condiments were gathered on the table next to the buns.

Raven sat and moved a couple burgers to her plate.  Not bothering with the utensils, she tore into the meat. She quickly devoured the burgers and sat eyeing the remaining patty.  Nightwing moved it to her plate without comment.

Once the meat was gone she filled her plate with salad and proved that she did know how to use a fork.

She healed rapidly and within 48 hours his silent guest was back to bird form.  She squawked once and waited by the balcony doors.  He unlatched the doors and pushed them wide.  Quickly she was up on the railing.


Her head cocked toward him.  “You know you can trust me.”

She blinked once, then she was gone.  He watched her sail off into the night.

Nightwing was swinging through the night, when Raven glided to his side.  She flew slowly away, leading away from his normal circuit of the city.  He followed.  They ended up at the garage where he kept his bike.

As he pulled out of the garage, she took off.

He wasn’t quite sure what he had been expecting, but the little white house in the suburbs wasn’t it.  Raven flew in through a large window on the second floor.

He meets Arella, she doesn’t approve of Rachel’s superhero business, but thanks him for watching out for her daughter.

She explains Rachel’s obsession, since Raven’s father raped her in an alley.

Starfire enters the scene and begins a relationship with Nightwing.  He is not aware of Rachel’s feelings for him.  Raven says nothing.

Enter Flash and his pursuit of Raven.  He likes that she doesn’t fall for him.
For some reason this doesn’t please Nightwing.

Nightwing’s eyes narrowed as Flash reached for Raven’s hand.  Leaning down he brushed his lips across her fingers and was gone.  Raven’s eyes followed the speedster as he moved around the room.

He didn’t know why Flash’s flirting was making him uncomfortable.  It wasn’t that he had done anything that he could complain about.  Honestly he flirted more aggressively with Starfire, than Raven, but something about it set him on edge.

Arella had asked him to take care of Rachel.  That was why he took it so personally, he reassured himself.  It was his responsibility to watch out for her.

Wally had been his friend for years.  If he were going to pick someone to date Raven, he couldn’t think of anyone he trusted more.  Then why couldn’t he let go of this feeling that Wally wasn’t the person she should be dating?

What was wrong with him?

Not sure where I want to take it from here.  Do I get them together or go ahead with the KF angle?  hmmm….  So many choices.