This story was written some time before my Cosmic Network series began, but events and connections made in the story affect the Cosmic Network series in "present time." I'm including it in the series for that reason.
This is a Nightwing/Disney's Gargoyles crossover; it takes place long before the destruction of Bludhaven iand post-NML in current Nightwing continuity. It takes place post Hunter's Moon in the Gargoyles series. It is slightly modified from the ff.net version of the story.
I don't own Nightwing/Dick Grayson, Elisa Maza, or the Gargoyles.
DC owns Nightwing (and any other mentioned related characters) and Disney and creator Greg Wiseman own(s) Elisa, the Gargoyles and related characters.
This story is a sequel of sorts to Constance Cochran's _Night's Defenders_, and she (along with multiple others!) was kind enough to beta stages of it for me. She suggested the original story idea that became this story. Thanks, Constance!
I know you're wondering just what REALLY inspired me to become a cop in addition to having the (definitely more-than-full-time) job of being Nightwing.
I mean, hey, I'm ALREADY *Nightwing.*
Leader of the Titans and then the Outsiders; longest running partner of the Batman; created the persona of Robin; graduated from sidekick of the greatest non-super-powered hero and detective on the planet to become a hero in my own right. What an idea, right?
Me - a man of the Rom, of all things - a COP.
If anyone had said to me when I was a kid - hell, even when I was 18 - that *I* would become a cop - I'd have a) laughed till I wet my pants and I stopped breathing, then, after I recovered; b) looked at you like you'd completely lost your mind; and then c) gone looking for the nice gentlemen in white coats carrying the I-love-me jacket for you that was just your size.
But, believe it or not (most days, I *still* don't!) here I am, a sworn officer of the law.
And the example I look to that inspired me to do it - not Batman, although he inspires me to justice like no other can on the planet, or beyond; not Jim Gordon, one of the best and most honest men to ever wear - and honor -the blue; not even Superman, Big Blue himself, who has inspired many a boy to become a greater man than he might have become because of HIS example of otherworldly honor and his relentless pursuit of justice (oh, and I smile broadly because I can just hear Bruce's snort of mild contempt at THAT statement, even now) - no, none of those men, excellent examples that they are, were the example that convinced me to serve the public in this other capacity openly, instead of behind the mask as Nightwing.
In the end, I did it because of the example of a detective in the 23rd precinct of New York City named Elisa Maza.
I suppose I fell just a little in love with her when I first met her. She's a little more than just conventionally pretty - long dark hair, big dark eyes, mocha-colored skin, slim - doesn't seem to be my normal type - I normally go for tall, muscular redheads - the original Batgirl (and current Oracle); Kory (Starfire), etc. - but there is just something enigmatic about her that just captures my attention and a tiny piece of my heart.
My heart belongs utterly to Barbara Gordon.
I know that even if Barbara didn't exist - and Elisa didn't have Goliath, the ultimate in devoted and proprietary steady boyf . . . - well, I'm really not sure WHAT to call Goliath, in gargoyle terms - maybe prospective mate? - well, our relationship would never be much more than big sister/little brother anyway.
All the attraction stuff aside, I got my inspiration to become a cop from watching her in action alongside her partner Matt, and also working with Goliath, Brooklyn, Broadway, Angela, Lexington, Hudson and their garg-pooch, Bronx, night after night, solving the big crimes, and also the little ones, in a city that appreciates them even less in a way than Bludhaven appreciates Nightwing.
When I asked Hudson, who is to the Manhattan clan what Alfred is to the Bat-Clan, why they put their lives on the line, night after night, to protect a city of people who, for the most part would run from them in terror if they met them on the street, he responded "Gargoyles can no more stop protecting the castle and the city than breathing the air. It's why we exist."
I realized right then that's why Elisa and the Gargoyles fight in common cause. Fundamentally their principles are the same, at the heart of all. And, their cause is the same as my own as Nightwing, as Batman's, and as Superman's; the difference is that Elisa does her city protection on a ordinary detective's salary. Granted, she has pretty impressive help in the Gargoyles - but she still does - and would do without any help at all - the work of an ordinary detective and police officer, day after day, and maybe in spite of the Gargoyles.
I think I admire that most of all. No Man's Land re-taught me that I as Nightwing could strip my "arsenal" down to the basics and the skills that I have, taught to me, natural and ingrained by Batman, and the other teachers I've had over the years and still accomplish five impossible things before sunrise, let alone breakfast - but it's not something I willingly do unless I have no other choice. Elisa, on the other hand, does it in a matter-of-fact, everyday fashion - because that is how she works, all the time, everyday.
She does this with a grace that is undeniable. She is tough, and loyal, and I respect her as much as Batman, Superman and any of my Titans or Outsiders for sheer grit.
Because I observed her in action, I realized that an ordinary individual who put on the badge could make as much difference in their chosen city as I can on the planetary and cosmic stage as Nightwing.
That example, held in front of me like the Holy Grail, along with the other examples of justice seekers in my life, has helped to keep me from giving up on Bludhaven - I figure that if Batman can single-handedly keep Gotham from sliding into the abyss, and Elisa can do her everyday job, then I can keep trying to save Bludhaven.
And, in the end, her example is what helped me decide to become a cop, to serve publicly during the day; and I would continue to serve beneath the mask during the night as Nightwing.
I just hope that I can set as excellent an example of police as good guys for others as she has for me; maybe one day, a youngster much like I was will look at my example, be inspired, and become a credit to the blue, much as I hope to be.
In a way, that's the ultimate legacy Elisa will leave, and that's the best anyone, in the end, can hope for.