Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Bruce/Dick, Barbara Gordon, Marriott/Corella, The Gold Coast Burglar
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: The Raven and the Nightingale encounter the Gold Coast Burglar up-close-and-personal.
Date Of Completion: November 2, 2014
Date Of Posting: September 16, 2015
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1203
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.
A THIEF IN THE NIGHT
Like a thief in the night,
His heart glittering
While the stars wept.
"Greek Love Poems"
Bruce and Dick staked out a few more houses but missed the next robbery at the Crandall estate. Valuable miniatures were taken, easy for the thief to carry. The uproar was louder than ever and Police Commissioner Alexander Teague was under siege. The editorial pages of the newspapers called for his resignation.
Dick was excited about Halloween and all its traditions. He was fascinated by a holiday display in the window of Molieres Chocolates. Bruce saw familiar things through fresh eyes and was delighted with his delight. As the full glory of autumn blazed in the countryside, Bruce felt his happiness increase.
Dick returned to the Gotham Public Library one crisp morning. He smiled at Barbara, who was working at the Reference Desk.
“Well, good morning, Mr. Grayson.”
“Good morning, Miss Gordon.” Dick unwound his scarf. “My books are due tomorrow. May I renew them?”
“Yes, no one has requested them, so you may.”
“You can see Miss Brown at circulation. Oh, Mr. Grayson?”
“Yes?” Dick had turned to go to the Circulation Desk but faced Barbara again.
“I think I know where the next robbery will be.”
“So your librarian thinks she knows the next target?” Bruce asked. He and Dick were sitting in their own library at the Manor.
Dick nodded. “She’s really smart. What she says makes sense.”
Bruce set aside his Meerschaum pipe. The rich smell of the tobacco always reminded him of his father.
Dick opened the book they had been consulting the most often, Treasures of Gotham’s First Families. “The Woodbridge family has a priceless collection of rare books.”
“Yes, Marriott is something of an expert.”
“Well, she found this item in The Bibliophile Journal. The latest issue published this month has an interesting item.” Dick produced the magazine. “I have to bring it back tomorrow.”
Bruce smiled. Special privileges, eh? He picked up the magazine. “What item?”
Dick pointed to the middle of the page. Bruce read the item with interest. “So a rare Shakespearean folio was bought at auction in Boston by Marriott and will be shipped here.” He read a little further. “According to this, the folio should have arrived already.”
“Bet our thief knows all about it.”
“I’d bet you were right.”
“So the Raven and the Nightingale ride tonight?” Dick asked with a gleam in his eye.
“Get your costume ready.”
Dick’s smile blazed.
Dick rode Daisy, a dappled gray mare, and Bruce rode Ebony, a black stallion. The Woodbridge estate was too far away to walk. Bruce also wanted to have transportation handy in case they encountered the burglar.
“Let’s go.” Bruce adjusted his mask.
They rode at a steady pace through the woods, using bridal paths. Dick hoped that they were lucky and would catch the thief. He sensed that something would happen tonight.
They arrived at Satinwood, the estate of Marriott and Corella Woodbridge. An iron fence surrounded the property. Dick and Bruce tied their horses in the woods, creeping toward the iron fence.
“There’s a break in the fence around here unless they’ve fixed it.” Bruce looked behind a stand of thick shrubs. “Ah, ha! Still broken.”
“How do you know it’s here?”
“I was running from Carissa one day.”
Dick clapped a hand over his mouth to muffle his laughter. “What?”
Bruce smiled. “A story I’ll tell you someday.”
They entered the grounds through the break in the fence, glad for the darkness to cloak their movements. Clouds blocked the moon.
“This way,” Bruce whispered.
Dick followed him, glancing at the house. It was dark. Everyone had gone to bed early. Somewhere an owl hooted.
They hid in the formal gardens behind a boxwood hedge, watching as the minutes ticked away. Dick amused himself by trying to picture Bruce running from Carissa Woodbridge.
An hour later the duo heard a noise around the corner of the house. They stood and stretched their muscles, waiting for the thief to emerge.
Suddenly there was a racket in the house. Lights went on, and shouting could be heard even through the closed windows. They could see into the study now and there were three people running around: Corella Woodbridge, a man who was probably her husband, Marriott, and a figure clad in black.
“Let’s go,” Bruce said.
They ran to the French doors and yanked them open. Corella was shrieking and Marriott tried to grab the thief, but he eluded his grasp. Bruce grabbed his arm but the burglar wheeled and kicked his knee, getting away for a second but Dick barred his way with his cane.
The burglar knocked away the cane, pushing Dick back and elbowing Bruce in the stomach. The burglar’s moves were quick and startling, knocking Bruce and Dick off-balance. Before they could react, the burglar ran out into the night. Bruce and Dick ran after him but the burglar had vanished.
“This way,” Bruce growled.
He and Dick sprinted to the break in the fence and went through it, and Dick saw something glitter in the bush outside the fence. He grabbed it and stuck it in his pocket as he ran with Bruce to the horses.
“Listen!” Bruce said. Dick heard the hoofbeats on the road. “Let’s go!”
They mounted their horses and headed for the main road. Once there they urged Ebony and Daisy into a gallop, hoping to catch up with the burglar.
“There!” Dick cried as he spotted the horse and rider several yards ahead.
Ebony pulled out in front as the chase continued. The powerful stallion began to gain on the thief’s horse.
Dick studied the rider. The cloak hid what manner of man he was, but Dick had seen the slender build of the burglar during the fight.
The rider also was expert at handling a horse. His cloak flapped in the wind as the rapid clip-clop of Bruce’s horse indicated how fast Ebony was going. Dick kept Daisy at a steady pace but refused to push her to match the stallion’s speed. He was not going to hurt his horse, thief or no thief.
Just as it seemed as if Bruce was going to catch up with the burglar, the thief made a daring move. He spun and ran his horse right at Bruce, spooking Ebony. The stallion reared and nearly threw his rider off.
Dick spurred Daisy forward but the burglar swept past him, throwing something in his face. The fine dust glittered in the air as Dick coughed violently. Bruce put a hand on his arm.
“Go!” Dick rasped.
Bruce sent Ebony pounding down the road. Dick kept coughing, waving his hand to dissipate the dust.
No hoofbeats sounded on the road and Bruce reined in Ebony, returning to his partner. “I lost him,” he growled.
Dick coughed again. “Slippery bastard.”
“I agree.” Bruce sighed in frustration. “So close! Some crimefighters we are.”
Dick cleared his throat. “We’re still new at this, you know.”
Dick smiled fondly at his lover. “Let’s go home, Raven.”
They turned their horses toward the Manor.