Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Bruce/Dick, Barbara Gordon, Alfred Pennyworth
Genres: Angst, Drama, Holiday, A Touch Of Hurt/Comfort, Romance
Rating (this chapter): G
Summary: Dick falls victim to a magic spell.
Chapter Summary: Dick checks out books on magic from the Gotham University library for a term paper.
Date Of Completion: June 30, 2014
Date Of Posting: October 3, 2014
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1334
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: Written for my 2014 DCU Fic/Art Halloween Challenge. Prompts: Pumpkins/Jack O’Lanterns, Books on Halloween/Magic, Gotham City, Yellow, Spells/Curses/Hexes.
All chapters can be found here.
In days of old,
As the lovers
"Love Spells For
The Modern Witch"
“What’s cookin’, good-lookin’?”
Barbara smirked as she worked at her keyboard. Her back was to the speaker as she continued to type.
“Aw, c’mon, baby, give me the time of day.”
Barbara turned around in her swivel chair, arms crossed. She adjusted her wire-rimmed glasses and said coolly, “Aren’t you a little fresh, Mister?”
The young man smiled saucily. “Fresh is better than stale, baby.”
Barbara laughed. “Grayson, you’re incorrigible.”
“I hope so.” His blue eyes sparkled. “I need to check these books out.”
Barbara glanced at the Circulation Desk, which had a long line waiting for check-out. “I can call up the Circulation module here.” As Barbara began checking the pile of books out, she raised an eyebrow. “Medieval Magic Spells? History Of European Magic, 1400-1692? Love Spells For The Modern Witch? What’s all this, Dick?”
“A term paper on European Witchcraft for history class.”
“So why the last one?”
Dick winked. “Never hurts to spice up the ol’ love life.”
Barbara laughed. “What’s the matter, you going dry?”
She smirked again. As if Dick ever had to beg for a date!
Dick tapped the Jack O’Lantern on her desk. “You coming out tonight?” he asked, lowering his voice.
She entered the codes into the computer to check the books to Dick’s record. “I’ll see you at the Clock Tower at ten o’clock.”
Dick picked up the books after pocketing his library card. “See you later, Ms. Gordon.”
Barbara watched him leave, admiring the view. She smiled as she returned to work.
Gotham City came into its own in October. As Halloween approached, its Gothic architecture and shadowed alleys was the perfect setting. Gargoyles leered and buildings centuries old were solid buttresses as moonlight silvered the rich environs of the glittering Gold Coast to the decaying East End.
Batgirl enjoyed the brisk snap of the cold night air. Her cape fluttered out behind her as she used her grapple hooks to swing between buildings. The Clock Tower that housed Big Dan loomed ahead of her. She could see the bright flutter of a yellow cape and knew that Batman would be somewhere in the shadows. She alighted with a deft touch on the tower roof.
“Hola, Boy Wonder!”
“That’s Wonder Woman’s thing, and haven’t you heard? It’s Teen Wonder now,” came the amused drawl.
“Well, fiddle-dee-dee!” Batgirl reeled in her line. She could see Batman in the shadow of Big Dan. “What’s up, gentlemen?”
“I just wanted to find out your activities for the night,” Batman said as he emerged from the shadows.
“Just broke up a few robberies on Clark Street and a mugging on Kent Avenue.”
“Not too exciting.” Robin rested one pixie-booted foot on the edge of the roof. His yellow cape fluttered gently in the breeze.
“Unexciting is good,” Batman remarked.
“I agree,” said Batgirl. “Anything special brewing?”
“The criminal masterminds are either in Arkham or out of town.” Batman crossed his arms. “The major egotists are out of the picture for the moment.”
“You think they’re laying low for Halloween?”
Robin rested his elbow on his knee. “Anything on your end, Red?”
“Negative. Everything’s quiet as a tomb.”
He grimaced. “I wish you hadn’t used that particular expression.”
Batgirl smirked. “Getting spooked, Boy Wonder?”
He answered with a smirk of his own. “Who can help getting spooked at this time of year?”
“Not many.” Batgirl stretched her legs. “Got any love spells to lay on me?”
Robin laughed. “Only those the modern Witch has handy.”
Batman sighed. “Is that the book you’ve been studying for that term paper of yours?”
“Sure.” He smiled with extra dazzle. “I’m doing research to spice up our life.”
Batgirl saw the slight smile quirk Batman’s lips. Indulgence of his young partner was not something he often showed in front of other crimefighters. She was proud to be one of the few privileged to witness it.
She saw the wistful glance that Robin threw at his mentor. Batman did not see it but Batgirl had noticed it before. She was saddened by the futility of her friend’s longing.
“I’ll join you gentlemen for the rest of patrol, if you don’t mind.”
“Never,” said Robin gallantly, and the three of them left the Clock Tower to patrol the heart of Gotham.
Alfred walked past the living room and smiled. Dick was sitting cross-legged in front of the crackling fireplace, his laptop on the coffee table and a book in his lap, a pile of books tilting precariously by his hip. It was his favorite place for studying.
The butler paused and poked his head in. “Would you care for a snack, Master Dick?”
Alfred quickly made up a tray of oatmeal raisin cookies and cup of Earl Grey tea. He brought it into the living room and set the tray on the coffee table next to a grinning Jack O’Lantern.
“You have been working hard on your paper.”
Dick nodded. “It’s a fascinating subject.” He laughed. “I suppose I could have saved myself the trouble and just asked Zatanna.”
It was one of Bruce’s favorite pastimes to sit quietly and observe Dick as he studied. He had done so last night before they went out on patrol.
Such a normal evening before going down to the Batcave.
Dick thanked him for the cookies and tea and absently began munching on a cookie as he turned the page of his book, totally absorbed. Smiling to himself, Alfred left to return to his duties in the kitchen.
Dick was amused by the love spells. The book had been published in 1986 at the height of the Wicca/New Age revival, and was cheerful and earnest at the same time. He had finally decided on a theme: the evolution of Witchcraft as perceived by Western culture from the Middle Ages to the present.
It won’t be comprehensive by any means because a theme like that deserves a thesis, but focusing on differences/similarities is helping shape the whole thing.
The differences were startling: the hate and suspicion that led to atrocities like the Salem witch hunts versus the cottage industry that had sprung up in the latter half of the 20th century. People could openly avow their practice of Witchcraft and make money off it, but the similarities were people’s suspicions of Witches, whether in the Middle Ages or in modern times.
Dick paged through the love spells book. After the heavy reading of the witchhunts in Old and New Worlds, he was ready for some lighthearted subjects.
His thoughts drifted back to the previous night, Bruce sitting in his favorite chair while Dick studied. It was so peaceful and happy, it had been a shame to interrupt the mood for patrol, but such was the life of a Bat.
It was his favorite time, too. He loved to see Bruce happy and relaxed. He just wished…
Now this is an interesting spell. We have some of this stuff, though batwings aren’t all that easy to get. I refuse to pull the wings off our resident bats!
He settled on another spell, blinking as the glow from the fire seemed to grow brighter. The sparks hissed and the logs shifted, embers sparkling in the depths of the hearth.
He tried to turn the page but it suddenly felt as heavy as lead. The words of the spell wavered before his eyes:
For your heart
May you sleep
And a day
Kisses you awake.
Time to rest,
Land of Nod.
Dick blinked again. But I’m not weary! The book slid out of his fingers as a glittery light leaped from the pages and enveloped him, his dark hair dancing with highlights as his eyes slowly closed and he slumped gracefully to the rug.