Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Bruce/Dick, Barbara Gordon, Stephanie Brown, Alfred Pennyworth, Eleanor Winchester
Genres: AU, Historical, Mystery, Romance
Rating (this chapter): PG-13
Warnings (this chapter): 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: Dick gathers information while Bruce receives an invitation.
Date Of Completion: September 28, 2014
Date Of Posting: August 1, 2015
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1703
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.
THE CROWN JEWELS
In the Treasure Trove,
Of All Things.
"Lady Of The Rings"
“Good morning, sir.”
“It’s Dick Grayson, ma’am.”
Barbara was sitting behind the Reference Desk today, wearing a light-green dress with an emerald brooch. Dick doubted that it was real. He could tell fake jewels after years in the theater, but it was pretty nonetheless.
“Do you have any information on the family jewels for the First Families of Gotham?”
Amusement crossed Barbara’s face. “And why would a famous dancer need such information?”
“Ah, so you know who I am?”
“Yes. You planning on any heists?”
“You mean beyond the robberies already committed?”
Barbara raised an eyebrow. “You know quite a bit about the latest news.”
“Call me curious.” Dick smiled charmingly, careful not to overdo it. This woman seemed too smart to be easily fooled. Maybe it was just the stereotype that librarians were brainy, but he doubted it. Intelligence gleamed in her green eyes, and Dick was loath to underestimate her.
“A curious dancer. Call me curious.” She suddenly smiled. “All right, I can show you some books. Have a seat.”
Dick sat at one of the long tables while Barbara went into the other room. She returned with several outsized tomes on a book cart.
“You’re in luck, Mr. Grayson. A book was published about Gotham’s treasures, in other words, about the wealthiest families’ Crown Jewels. There are several very nice photographs in the book. These others have more in-depth information, and there are also newspaper clippings you might find of interest.”
“Thank you, Miss Gordon.”
“If you need any more help, just ask.” Barbara returned to her desk with a swish of silk skirts.
Dick opened the top book. The photographs showed various treasures: jewels, sculptures and paintings. There were even rare books as part of some collections.
It’s like a guidebook for thieves.
He read about the Winchester jewels, noting that there were more gems in the photograph than Eleanor had said were stolen. He would have to ask Bruce about it.
He studied the other treasures and made notes on a pad of paper that he had brought with him. He read the other books that went into more depth on the valuable objects.
There were a few other patrons in the room quietly reading. The only sounds were an occasional cough and the turning of pages.
Dick stretched his legs trying to work out a kink in his thigh. He would have to get some steam and a massage. He wiggled his toes, wishing he had his ballet slippers on.
How do people wear those awful high-buttoned shoes?
He shuddered at the thought. He brought the clippings close and began to read.
The robbery reporting was good. He noticed the byline was Vicki Vale. He made more notes, listening as Barbara spoke with a patron.
When he finished he put the books back on the cart. He went over to the Reference Desk while pushing the cart.
“Miss Gordon, I’d like to check out some of these books.”
“Certainly. Miss Brown will help you at the Circulation Desk.”
“Yes.” She was wearing a set of wire-rimmed glasses attached to a gold chain and perched the glasses on her nose. “The newspaper clippings stay here.”
As Dick began to turn away, Barbara asked, “Did you find what you wanted?”
“Yes, ma’am.” Dick flashed her a smile and trundled the cart out to the foyer.
Barbara watched as the ballet dancer walked away pushing the cart. It was a fine view, she thought with a slight blush.
I know more than most girls about amore. Those French novels in my trunk at home tell you the way of the world.
She still could not quite believe that a famous ballet dance was here in Gotham City. Once she had heard that Bruce Wayne was seen trailing a certain ballet company around Europe, she had done some research. Apparently Richard Grayson was a rising star in the ballet world. Intrigued, she had seen pictures of him in old issues of European newspapers.
Didn’t do you justice, Grayson. You’re pretty dazzling in the flesh.
Barbara leaned back in her chair. Why would a man immersed in his art be so interested in the Gold Coast robberies? Could he be connected to them somehow?
What a shame if he is. I’d hate to see him waste away in some filthy prison, though he’d probably wind up as King of his cellblock.
She tapped her teeth with the end of her glasses. Maybe he was just a crime aficionado.
I hope he needs to do more research.
“What are you smiling about?”
Barbara looked up at her fellow librarian, who was standing by the desk.
“Yes, you look like the Cheshire Cat.” Stephanie leaned closer. “Are you thinking about Mr. Gorgeous? Because I concur.”
Barbara laughed. “Do you?”
“Oh, yes.” Stephanie dropped her voice to a whisper. “He looks just as good from the front as the back.”
“Such thoughts from a demure librarian, Miss Brown!”
Stephanie smirked. “Do you want me to do some shelving? I put up the sign directing people here from the desk.”
“Yes, go ahead. Oh, put away those newspapers first, would you?”
“Sure.” Stephanie pushed the cart away.
Barbara checked the watch pinned to her bodice. Time to work on some statistics. She took a ledger out from the bottom drawer and began transferring numbers to it from a stack of papers.
Bruce looked up from his work in the study. Papers were scattered across his desk and his hand hovered over the inkwell while clutching his pen.
“What have you got there?”
“Books that will help us.” Dick set the books on the coffee table and sat on the couch. “Come see.”
Bruce abandoned his desk and sat next to Dick. “That’s a good pile of books. Let’s take a look.”
Dick pointed out the pertinent pages and Bruce skimmed over them. “Okay, we might be able to guess the next location he’ll hit with these as a guide.”
“Do you think we’ll be ready to do some night sleuthing?” Dick asked eagerly.
Bruce almost laughed. As it was he smiled fondly at the younger man. “Maybe by this weekend.”
Bruce brushed back the strand of hair that hung loosely over Dick’s forehead. “We’re getting there, Nightingale.”
“Quoth the Raven?”
Dick smirked. With a wink he nuzzled Bruce’s ear.
“You’re insatiable, aren’t you?” Bruce asked.
“I certainly hope so.” Dick bent Bruce back to lie down on the couch, covering his body with his own. “Mmm, insatiable is good.”
“Come on, show me.”
Dick leaned forward and caressed Bruce’s face. He was certainly flexible, a ballet dancer’s stock-in-trade. He bent down almost in half to kiss deeply. Bruce returned it with enthusiasm, his hands moving over Dick’s hips.
As Dick began to unbutton his shirt, Bruce hoped that Alfred would not come in, but all coherent thoughts fled as Dick’s magic fingers began their work.
The next day Alfred was dusting in the foyer when the doorknocker sounded. He put his feather duster down on the table and opened the door.
“Ah, good morning, Mrs. Winchester.”
“Good morning, Alfred.” She presented her card, which Alfred placed on a silver tray.
“Follow me, please, Mrs. Winchester.”
Eleanor followed the butler into the parlor. Alfred did not take her hat and coat. He was not sure if Bruce wanted to see her.
Alfred found Bruce in the library. “Mrs. Emerson Winchester calling, sir.”
“Ah, I take it she’s not calling on the phone.” Bruce saw the engraved card on the tray.
“I’ll see her.”
“Very good, sir.”
Alfred returned to the parlor and took Eleanor’s hat and coat, careful of the ostrich feathers on the hat.
Pity the ostrich.
Bruce did not keep Eleanor waiting long. He entered the parlor and greeted his friend warmly. “Nice to see you, Eleanor. What brings you here?”
“Oh, just a little thing the ladies and I are putting together, remember?”
“What, some charity ball?”
“No, darling, your welcome home party, remember?”
“Oh, that.” Bruce waved her hand.
“Yes, that.” Eleanor looked miffed but Bruce knew that she was just pretending. “You’ll get your invitation but it’s next Saturday at the Stoddards. You and your houseguest are expected at eight.” She waved her hand languorously. “It will be the social event of the Season!”
“What if I have other plans?” Bruce asked in amusement.
“You’ll just have to cancel them, dear.”
Bruce laughed. “All right, my friend.” He stood by the mantel. The fire warmed his legs. “Would you like some tea?”
“No, thank you. I only stopped by to let you know when, where and why.”
“Because you’re back.”
Bruce smirked at their word game. “Thanks to you and the ladies. Really, I appreciate it.”
“I’m so glad, dear. Now, I must be off! Caroline Stoddard and the rest of our group have much to do.”
Bruce summoned Alfred by tugging on a pull cord. He requested that Eleanor’s things be fetched.
“Are you sure you don’t want to stay awhile longer?”
“While a very tempting notion, I do have many things to do. Pity we aren’t living in our grandparents’ time when leisure was part of our class’ birthright.”
“Do you feel hurried?”
“Modern life is very fast, Bruce. Why, I just attended a wedding in Bar Harbor this summer of a young couple who were only engaged for a year! Can you believe it? You can’t even get a decent wedding planned in that amount of time, never mind a courtship! I truly wonder what our society will become.” Eleanor shook her head.
Bruce thought of his own courtship of Dick. They had just met a year ago in Italy, and had fallen in love before leaving for Russia.
What would Eleanor say about our whirlwind courtship?
She departed and Bruce returned to the library and his study of the books that Dick had brought home.
This weekend, the Raven and the Nightingale would perform their first patrol in America.