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Title: The Raven And The Nightingale Book II: The Gold Coast (17/25)
Author: BradyGirl_12
Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Donna Troy, Selina Kyle, Stephanie Brown, Barbara Gordon, Roy Harper
Genres: AU, Historical, Mystery, Romance
Rating (this chapter): PG-13
Warnings (this chapter): None
Spoilers: None
General Summary: A series of daring robberies on Gotham City’s Gold Coast catches the attention of the Raven and the Nightingale.
Chapter Summary: Donna celebrates freedom in many ways. ;)
Date Of Completion: January 27, 2015
Date Of Posting: October 17, 2015
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1366
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: Submitted to my 2015 DCU Fic/Art Dick Grayson Diamond Anniversary Challenge. The entire series can be found here.



XVII

THE GREEK WAY


When the King
Stood tall,
He knew
That his Beloved
Was right
Beside him,
In the days
Of glory,
And days
Of old.


John Addington Sylvester
"The Great Friendship"
1883 C.E.



Donna stretched, enjoying the freedom her leotard gave her. Sometimes she hated the clothes she had to wear, especially the whalebone corsets.

“Your ankle is healing.”

Donna opened her eyes and saw Selina standing over her. She looks fabulous as always.

“Hi, Selina.”

Selina sat down on the edge of the stage. “You’ve got talent.”

“Thank you.”

Selina rubbed her towel on the back of her neck. “I call ‘em as I see ‘em.”

“Well, that’s good to know.”

Selina chuckled, swinging her legs back-and-forth. “It’s good to be in a leotard. Womanly clothes can be a lot of fuss.”

“Not to mention discomfort.” Donna grimaced as she ran a hand over her stomach.

“Ah, yes. Corsets.” Selina ran her tongue over her lips. “You know, there was a movement back in the 1880s to give women more freedom of movement. The New Woman Movement of the 1890s was part of that.”

“Hmm, that sounds intriguing.”

“Come on with me.”

Selina helped Donna to her feet and led her to her dressing room. The older woman rummaged in a chest of drawers and drew out a soft undergarment. She held it out to Donna, who fingered the material.

“This is light as a feather.”

“And just as comfortable.” Selina dug into her drawer again and produced a tissue-wrapped package. “These are some new girdles. Use these, if you don’t mind not having a perfect hourglass figure.”

“In order to breathe, I’ll give up the hourglass.” Donna smiled as she looked at the package. “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome, my dear.” Selina smirked knowingly. “You’ll still attract the Sunshine Boys.”

“Who?”

“Dick and Roy.”

Donna laughed. “We’re just friends.”

“Perhaps.”

Donna could not help but smile. “Thanks again, Selina.”

Donna returned to her dressing room and eagerly opened the package. She tried on the undergarment and sighed happily. It was a whole new day.

& & & & & &


Donna walked down the street, pleased at how she no longer felt winded. She did a little skip as she turned onto Maple Street, whirling around lampposts as she danced down the street. She noted the library building with interest and went up the steps.

Donna was immediately struck by the peace and quiet in the venerable old building. She smiled at the perky blond girl working at the Circulation Desk.

“Good morning.”

“Good morning,” the girl answered. “May I help you?”

“Yes. I would like to apply for library card.”

“Certainly.”

Donna filled out the form and received her card from Stephanie, noting her nametag. “Where is the card catalogue located?”

“In Reading Room Number One.”

“Thank you.”

Donna entered the room and noticed no one was around. She walked over to the card catalogue, found the drawer marked ‘Man--Mys’ and began riffling through cards. She was in the mood for a good mystery.

She found some titles that looked interesting and jotted down the information on a small pace of paper provided for patrons. She wandered off into the stacks and saw a pretty redhead shelving books.

“Hi.”

“Hello.” The redhead picked up a book off the cart. “May I help you?”

“No, I have the proper call numbers here.” Donna waved her slip of paper.

“Well, if you need help, please let me know.”

“Thank you.”

Donna went to the proper section and picked out her titles, browsing through the shelves and picking out another. She left the stacks and Barbara nearly bumped into her with her cart.

“Oh, sorry,” Barbara apologized.

“Perfectly okay.”

“Oh, a Jean Loring mystery. I approve.”

“You’re a fan?”

Barbara nodded. “Miss Loring has a vivid imagination. She can spin a good tale. That one is about a man able to miniaturize himself.”

“I know. The frontispiece sold me.” Donna smiled. “I admire that. A good writer is a true artiste.”

Barbara laughed. “Creative types are so temperamental.”

Donna’s blue eyes twinkled. “I agree.”

Barbara checked the timepiece pinned to her blouse. “Goodness, it’s almost eleven. I…” She paused. “You look familiar.”

“Perhaps you saw my performance.”

“Performance?” Barbara’s eyes widened. “You dance with the Gotham Ballet Company!”

Donna smiled. “That’s right.” She held out her hand. “I’m Donna Troy.”

“Barbara Gordon.” They shook hands. “I’ve seen you more than once. I’ve loved every show I’ve seen.”

“Thank you. It’s exciting to dance with such talented people.”

“Like Dick Grayson?”

Donna’s eyes sparkled. “Oh, yes.”

The two women shared knowing looks.

“You’re very lucky to work with him,” Barbara said.

“He’s a good friend.”

“The redhead, too?”

Donna laughed. “Him, too.” She glanced around. “You have a lovely library here.”

“Thank you.” Barbara riffled through the books. “I have something here you might like.” She found the book and presented it to Donna.

“Oh, a novel by Silver Spring. She does such wonderful historical epics.”

“She does. I loved her novels about Alexander and Hephaistion.”

“A great romance.”

Barbara looked at her. "A very special friendship."

Donna raised an eyebrow. “Both, I would say. It was the Greek way.”

The wariness left Barbara’s eyes. “Yes, the Greek way. The modern equivalent?”

“Ballet dancers.”

Barbara smirked as she bent down to set the books upright on the bottom of the cart.

Donna checked out her books and walked back to her room at Mrs. Corrigan’s boardinghouse. She would start reading the Loring mystery right away in the small backyard’s gazebo. The big sugar maple tree was a glory of gold and a beautiful background for reading.

She enjoyed her book as a slight breeze blew, bringing down showers of yellow, red and orange leaves from various trees in the yard. It was a pretty scene, and despite Gotham’s reputation as an ugly city, she found the scene charming.

She liked the librarian she had talked to this morning. A smart woman, as many librarians tended to be. It was a good profession for a woman. Underpaid, of course, but that was an infuriating fact of life. It was a good job that offered some security. Her aunt had been a librarian for twenty-six years.

“Hi!”

Donna looked up and smiled. “Hi, Roy.”

Roy stepped up into the gazebo. “Mrs. Corrigan says it’s okay for me to sit out here with you.”

“But not above the first floor inside.”

“No, not above the first floor.” Donna set aside her book. “What’s up?”

“Just felt like visiting.”

Donna felt it was more than that but she played along. “Would you like something to drink?”

“No, I’m fine.” Roy sat down on the bench that encircled the wooden gazebo. “Beautiful day.”

“It certainly is.” Donna rubbed her arms. “A bit chilly but not uncomfortable.”

“Autumn’s tricky. Sometimes it’s warm and sometimes it’s not.”

“True.” Donna leaned back against the railing. Discussing the weather was a delaying tactic. She waited for Roy to say what was on his mind.

Roy turned his cap around in his hands. Finally he asked, “What do you think of Dick’s set-up?”

“What do you mean?”

“His living arrangements.”

“Oh, that.” Donna waved her hand airily.

Roy looked up. “You’re pretty cavalier.”

“About what?”

“Dick living with Bruce Wayne!”

“You saw the Manor. Plenty of room.” Donna rested her hands in her lap. “Why does this bother you? Stars get special treatment all the time.”

Roy was still worrying his cap. “Do you think that Dick is…?”

“What?” Donna asked softly.

“Do you think he’s sleeping with Wayne?”

Donna looked thoughtful. “Possibly.” She cocked her head. “That sort of thing never bothered you before.”

“You know Dick’s history. He’s been hurt before by rich suitors who have tossed him aside.”

“I know, but if he chooses to go that route, there’s nothing we can do about it.”

Roy grumbled. “I suppose you’re right.”

“Of course I am.” Roy rolled his eyes and she laughed. “Now, let’s go into the parlor for some tea and cakes.”

“Sounds good to me.” Roy stood and offered his arm graciously, which Donna took with a little curtsy.

She just hoped that Roy’s worries were unfounded.





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