Spoils Of War

Rating: PG
Summary: AU after Killing Joke. Jason will never be Robin again…but that doesn't mean he's out of the game.

Jason was never going to be Robin again. For one thing, Robin needed two eyes, and a working set of legs. (He could kick just as hard as ever with his right, but the muscles would always be weak, and it hurt a damn whole lot. Not like pain had ever bothered him, though.)

For another thing, Robin was Batman's partner. And Jason knew Bruce would never let him anywhere near the streets again, even if he hadn't said as much – yet.

Fuck that. He'd never quit at anything before in his life; he wasn't about to start now.

It's a lot easier contemplating getting back out on the streets knowing that he won't be there, though. The Joker died in that explosion – the Tibetan equivalent of a stone gargoyle fell on top of him while he was escaping. Jason thinks that's karmic justice at work. But if he was ever going to be part of the cape and cowl crowd again, he needed help. It pretty much blasted what was left of his pride to little pieces to admit it, but having a near-death-by-crowbar experience will do that to a guy. Get him to admit to a lot of things he wouldn't have before.

Unfortunately, Dick was the only one he could count on to help him (he'd never really been a part of the Titans like Dick had; he'd never been Robin like Dick had), and Dick was off with Barbara in Metropolis, getting her used to that bodybrace (STAR Labs had retro-engineered a lot of things from Brainiac's tech, and Bruce Wayne's money bypassed a lot of strings) so she wouldn't have to use the damn chair for the rest of her life.

(Jason's the only one whose life has gone downhill in the past few years.)

Which meant a costumed identity was going to have to wait. A civilian identity, apart from his father (and right now he's so angry with Bruce he can't think straight, but he knows Bruce is better than his father ever was, better than his moth–) like Dick did when he became Nightwing.

No one's watching over Bludhaven while Nightwing's gone – other than Huntress, who's more focused on her Mafia targets, and Black Canary, who's really only filling in while she gets over her latest lover's quarrel with Green Arrow.

There's a war on out there, and Jason's determined to make sure the good guys win. He can't do much – yet – but what he is doing is going to help him in the long run. He's technically too young to work in a cop bar, but it's amazing how few not-exactly-law-abiding people are unwilling to card a guy with as many scars as he has now.

Jason's planning on getting good and drunk right after the fight with Bruce he knows is going to happen.

He works in the same cop bar that Dick used to; gets more information than him too, and why not? A guy with one eye is, apparently, to the crooked, drunken cops of Bludhaven, the equivalent of a guy with no ears. They even talk about him right in front of him, and if he weren't undercover, he would seriously put the smackdown on some of their asses. But thanks to the BHPDs lack of tact, he now knows that half the pigs in the place think he lost his eye in some crooked deal gone wrong and is working in this shithole to 'make amends, ha-ha-ha.' The other half think he lost his eyes in some double cross gone wrong and are hoping being surrounded by cops will protect him.

Fuck that. He may not be Robin anymore, but he was taking care of himself long before Batman came along.

He's not going to get nearly as much information as oracle this way, but it's going to be more…focused…in the crime in Bludhaven. There's a guy named Roland Desmond in charge of pretty much everything illegal (and not); everything besides the mob, but it looks like he's moving in on that territory, and Huntress, at least, treats him with the same disdain she always did when he suggests a partnership – before she agrees.

He's got the costume (pieced together from all the old ones in the Cave, with the help of a long-suffering, reluctant Alfred. It's the dark purple color of a bruise; Alfred calls it eggplant), now all he needs is a name.

He thinks Spoiler will do.