Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Bruce/Dick, Harlan Endicott, Barbara Gordon, Jim Gordon
Genres: Angst, Challenge, Drama, Romance
Rating (this chapter): PG-13
General Summary: Dick is uncertain about his future.
Chapter Summary: Dick attends an exhibit opening at the Gotham Art Museum.
Artist: The fabulously-talented Giallodih! Art can be found here (Tumblr) and here (Deviantart).
Date Of Completion: June 8, 2013
Date Of Posting: September 24, 2013
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 2002 (Total: 4994)
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author's Notes: Written for the 2013 Bruce/Dick Ficathon. All chapters can be found here.
NAKED GREEKS BEARING GIFTS
And terror’s bones
Are just another night’s work
“How about one more, Dick?”
“Look this way!”
“Flash those pearly whites!”
Dick smiled for the cameras as the paparazzi shot their pictures outside the entrance of the Gotham Art Museum. He continued smiling as he waved and walked the red carpet toward the iron doors inlaid with stained glass. Clad in a simple-yet-expensive tuxedo, his smile bedazzled as he asked, “Hey, Don, how’s Judy?”
“Just great,” the photographer replied.
“Ellie, did your son win the football game?”
“And the championship!” Ellie beamed as she snapped a photo of Dick.
He smiled back. He enjoyed the spotlight and felt very comfortable as the cameras clicked.
“Where’s your mentor?” called out a photographer.
“Relaxing this evening.”
“Hard at work?” Don asked teasingly.
“Of course!” Dick gave a final wave and disappeared inside.
The foyer was quiet as the guests had moved on to the exhibit area. Dick was familiar with the layout of the museum, having visited many times before in his civilian and superhero identities. It was a prime drawing card for Gotham’s Rogues. He walked over the mosaic floor and under the banners advertising the Greek exhibit. Dick ran a comb through his thick, dark hair and straightened his tie.
Time to play the Heir Apparent.
Dick walked down the corridor as he left the foyer. Chamber music drifted down the hall as he followed the signs directing him to the Mallory Room, which housed the latest exhibit. He entered the room and was immediately drawn to a statue of marble perfection. Not only did the Greeks admire the male body, their love of sculpture was just as strong. They disliked anything but idealized beauty in their art.
Dick appreciated beauty in all its forms. He saw enough ugliness in his night job. He gazed passionately at the work of art, admiring the curve of the statue’s hip and the sweet pout of its lips. The statue’s body was contorted in the pose of a discus thrower. In the grand tradition of the Greek Olympics, the athlete was nude.
“Appreciating fine art?”
Dick smiled at Barbara’s voice. He turned to see his friend dressed in a dark-green, low-cut gown with a diamond necklace, bracelet and earrings.
“You look gorgeous.”
“Thank you, Dickie.”
Dick grinned at her. “Care to view the rest of the exhibit?” He offered his arm.
Barbara took it and made a little curtsey. “Lead on, Mr. Grayson.”
Dick grinned and led Barbara to the next area of the exhibit. The beauty of the sculptures was breathtaking. There were female statues, too, though the women were draped with marble togas. Each curve of a breast or hip was sublime.
“Beautiful,” murmured Barbara.
Dick agreed. He paused at a tableau that featured two male statues entwined in a passionate embrace. The taller of the pair was slightly older, his large hands gripping the biceps of the younger man. Dick was strongly reminded of him and Bruce.
“Remind you of anyone?”
Dick looked at an amused Barbara. “Not really,” he smirked.
They viewed the rest of the exhibit and declared it one of the best they had ever seen.
“It’s well put-together,” Barbara said.
“The Director hires talented people.”
They emerged into a solarium that was a profusion of colors: red, orange, yellow, pink, blue and green. Marble fountains sparkled with clear water and floating flowers of all colors. A Green Man wall fountain gushed an impressive stream of water from its mouth as the stars glittered through the skylights. The guest mingled as waiters circulated with glasses of champagne and hors d’oeuvres.
“Lovely,” Barbara murmured.
Dick agreed. He liked the pageantry of the museum surroundings.
Always a circus boy at heart, he thought amusedly.
“Daddy, how nice to see you,” Barbara said with a smile as she and Dick walked up to Jim Gordon.
“And you, darling.” He smiled approvingly at Dick. “Try the champagne. It’s quite good.”
Barbara picked up a glass from a passing waiter and handed a second glass to Dick.
“Where’s Bruce tonight?” Jim asked.
“Oh, just sitting at home. He begged off because he just went to the Strathams’ ball last night.”
“Well, I can see that. A little time at home would suit me.”
Barbara grinned knowingly. “Daddy likes nothing better than to sit in his favorite chair in front of the fireplace with a good book.”
"’Fraid that’s not too exciting,” Jim said with a laugh.
“Sounds just right to me,” Dick said with a smile. “Mmm, you’re right, this champagne is good.”
As father and daughter talked, Dick thought about getting Bruce in front of a fire.
Maybe on a fur rug.
He hid his smirk by taking a sip of champagne.
“So, ol’ Brucie is taking the night off?”
The speaker was Harlan Endicott, a distinguished, gray-haired man with piercing brown eyes and a hawk-like nose. He was Old Money and a shrew businessman as well. Rivals with Bruce for years, Harlan never stopped looking for an opportunity to one-up him.
Or the Heir Apparent.
Dick never minded the appellation. He understood the press’ need to play thing up.
“Yes, too much partying last night,” Dick said with a quick smile.
“Oh, ho, got sloshed again, eh?” Harlan winked as he jabbed his elbow into Dick’s ribs.
“Pretty much.” Dick was careful not to let his dislike for this man show. He had been around businessmen enough to know revealing too much of himself was a mistake. “Occupational hazard.”
Harlan laughed. It wasn’t a pleasant sound. “With Brucie, situation normal.” He finished his glass of champagne. “So he’s got you standing in for him?”
Dick bristled. “I’m here as a junior executive of Wayne Enterprises.”
“Well, of course. Junior it is.”
Dick could feel his teeth set on edge at the sneer in the older man’s voice. “Yes, since I’m attending college.”
“I heard that you’d considered Hudson University.”
“I did, but I guess I’ve become a Gotham boy.” Dick chose an hors d’oeuvres from a passing waiter’s plate. It was light puff pastry filled with cream.
“Really?” Harlan plucked a fresh glass from another tray, nearly guzzling it down.
Dick sipped his champagne slowly. Bruce had cautioned him about alcohol and the loss of control. Humans in the superhero business without superpowers had to be especially in charge of their faculties.
“Does it bother you to be his errand boy?”
“What?” Dick’s surprise was quickly followed by irritation.
“You heard me.” Harlan grabbed another glass of champagne Dick realized that he could hear slightly-slurred speech. “You’re just the errand boy sent to carry out Brucie’s whims.”
Dick kept a rein on his temper. There was no use fighting with a drunken man.
“Mr. Endicott, how nice to see you.”
Thank heavens for Barbara, Dick thought gratefully as she swept into the conversation, completely distracting Harlan. Dick slipped away.
He drifted around the room, using the skills that Bruce had taught him to stick to the shadows and remain unnoticed. It was perfect for observing other people, and Gotham’s High Society were no secret to him. He had practically grown up in the social milieu of these people, hearing the whispers about his ‘Gypsy background’, a scandal to be sure if was true. Bruce had never confirmed or denied it, not wanting to create more pressure for his orphaned boy. The prejudice against the Roma was pervasive and insidious.
When Dick had been old enough, Bruce had given him the choice of acknowledging his heritage. Dick had chosen not to confirm or deny simply because he liked to keep the self-appointed snobs guessing.
He was well aware that the only reason that the ugly whispers remained unspoken to his face was Bruce and his family’s power and prestige in Gotham. People resented him poised to inherit such a vast fortune and the royal title.
Because it is royal, even if Bruce won’t admit it
Dick finished his champagne, a small smile on his lips. He had something special with Bruce that none of them would understand.
Suddenly the crash of glass brought everyone’s attention up to the skylight. People screamed as glittering shards rained down in a deadly waterfall, crashing to the hard stone floor in a riot of color.
Dick’s muscles were ready to spring as he saw the portly figure float down clutching an umbrella, surrounded by other men using umbrellas to drift down.
“Well, now, a fancy shindig and no one invited a Cobblepot? Tsk, tsk.” The Penguin closed his umbrella and pointed it at the crowd.
Dick shot a look at Barbara. Neither one had brought their costumes, simply because where would you carry them?
Though my costume could probably fit in my wallet, he smirked.
For now they had to play the part of innocent bystanders. Dick longed to spring into action, but his secret identity had to be protected.
So he waited for an opportunity and hoped that the Penguin wouldn’t do more than rob a few wealthy citizens and be on his way. A glance at Barbara showed that she was probably thinking the same thing. He gave her a slight smile and she returned it.
“C’mon, now, pony up. My fellow socialites always carry a bauble or two or a bit o’ cash.”
The Penguin squawked his distinctive laugh as his men moved throughout the crowd, snatching jewelry and wallets. One came toward Dick and Barbara and they reluctantly surrendered their valuables. Barbara looked like she wanted to kick the man in the groin as her mother’s jewelry disappeared into the sack.
One white-haired man objected strenuously to his watch being taken and his wife screamed as he was hit on the head with the butt of a robber’s gun. Dick flexed his fingers as Barbara tossed her red hair with a flick of her head, her hands opening and closing.
Suddenly a distinctly-shaped shadow appeared on the floor as with a whisper of silk, the Dark Knight leaped down from the broken skylight. Tossing Barbara a grin, Dick managed to kick the leg of the robber who had stolen his wallet. The thief buckled and ended up on his rear end.
The crowd of socialites tried to get away as Batman fought the Penguin’s minions. Dick and Barbara managed to appear lucky, tripping thugs and getting in the way to prevent them from getting a clear shot at Batman.
At some point during the fight Dick wound up close to Batman. “Great entrance,” he murmured.
“Glad you approve.”
Dick grinned as he managed to trip another minion. The Penguin was squawking at the top of his lungs as his carefully-planned robbery fell apart. He waddled and jumped and threatened mayhem with his umbrella. If the situation wasn’t so dangerous, it would have been comical.
Batman collared the Penguin. “Time to be set on ice, Penguin.”
“Very eloquent, Oswald.” Batman tugged. “Let’s go.”
The crowd buzzed as the police arrived and assured everyone that once everything was logged as evidence, they would get their valuables back. Dick took Barbara’s hand and led her to a small fountain.
“Good job, Ms. Gordon.”
“Not bad yourself, Mr. Grayson.”
“Well, looks like the Bat is still on the prowl,” slurred Harlan Endicott as he swayed on his feet.
“Yes, he’s doing his duty,” Dick said, hoping to avoid further conversation.
“Looks like you did your duty as Brucie’s stand-in.”
“I try.” Dick escorted Barbara away.
“Slick move, Boy Wonder,” she whispered.
He laughed as they left the solarium.
Later that night as Dick lay in the bed he shared with Bruce, he heard his lover come in and join him under the sheets. Smelling faintly of the soap that they used in the Batcave showers, Bruce nuzzled Dick’s neck. Neither man spoke, not needing words as they snuggled close and fell asleep as the moonlight shone in the master bedroom.