Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Steve/Diana, Jamie O’Reilly, Medea, Selina Kyle, Al O’Callahan, Laura McKinney
Genres: Romance, Drama, A Touch Of Mystery
Rating (this chapter): G
General Summary: When Queen Hippolyta sends a precious Amazon artifact to America with an Amazon guard, both cause Diana and Steve no end of trouble.
Chapter Summary: After the robbery, Diana comes up with a way to save the Amazon exhibit.
Date Of Completion: March 19, 2008
Date Of Posting: May 10, 2008
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1518
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: Dedicated to our hardy band of Steve/Diana fans! :)
Special thanks to jen_in_japan , whose enthusiasm for this project kept me going with a smile on my face. :)
All chapters can be found here.
THE CROWN JEWEL
In the morning light
Like a Crown Jewel
In a tiara
Steve had a headache, and it was only seven o’clock in the morning. His footsteps echoed in the silence as he hurried to the Amazon exhibit hall.
Damn, I hope Medea isn’t here. Her hatred of anyone with a ‘Y’ chromosome will be doubled now.
He saw Jamie in conference with several of his security guards. “Steve!” Jamie hurried over to his old friend. “Man, I’m so sorry.”
“I’m sorry for you, old buddy. The museum’s going to lose a lot of revenue.”
“And so is Wonder Woman’s charity.”
“Jamie, how the hell did this happen? I thought that…”
A loud voice echoed down the hall, and both men winced. Medea burst into the room, followed closely by Wonder Woman.
“Incompetent idiots!” Medea thundered. “How we ever allowed a sacred Amazon treasure to be put into heathen hands is beyond me! Stupid, arrogant, male…!”
“Medea, please.” Diana’s voice was gentle but firm. Medea backed off, glowering. “How did this happen, Jamie?”
“We’re going to review the security tapes…”
Steve’s cellphone rang. He flipped it open. “Trevor here.”
“Selina!” Diana’s interest piqued as she drew closer. “What can I do for you?”
“I didn’t do it.”
Steve laughed. “Good to know.”
“I’ll keep my ear to the ground. Gotham fences usually get the big scores, though I doubt the Chalice will be fenced. Private collector, most likely.”
Steve noticed one of the glass cases broken and empty. “They also took several other artifacts.”
“One. Closest to the Chalice. I’ll send you a list.”
“No need. I never forget a piece of jewelry or thing of beauty.” Her voice purred and Steve blushed. “Tell Wonder Woman I said hello.”
“Your cat’s-eyes are excellent, Selina.”
A trill of laughter. “Not exactly. Where one of you is, the other isn’t too far away.”
Pleased, Steve said goodbye, and Selina hung up.
“She’ll keep an eye on Gotham fences for us.”
Diana nodded. “She’s the best contact to have in this case.”
“Let’s go look at the security tapes.”
Jamie led them to the security booth. A young, bespectacled man was waiting.
“Cal has been running last night’s tapes. Cue it up, Cal.”
Cal hit a button and the view of the exhibit hall went blank.
“What…?” Jamie groaned. “What happened, Cal?”
“It was erased, sir.”
Steve and Diana exchanged glances.
“The police are gonna love this.” Jamie looked ill.
Steve patted him on the back. “Let’s check out the hall again.”
& & & & & &
The police arrived. Detective Al O’Callahan was a tall, well-muscled man with bright blue eyes and sharp tongue. He wore a gray trenchcoat and matching fedora, the old-fashioned look good on him.
“What about the alarms?”
“The code was punched in and deactivated the system.”
A sandy eyebrow lifted up. “Mr. O’Reilly, we’re going to have to interview every member of your staff.” He glanced at Steve. “You, too, Major.” Steve nodded. “All right, let’s get started. Major, this way.”
Diana squeezed his hand and Steve smiled at her. “Let’s go, Detective.”
Cal led O’Callahan and Steve to a conference room, closing the door behind him as he left.
“Why me first Detective?” Steve asked as he sat down.
“You were liaison officer for this exhibit. Besides, sometimes an outsider’s perspective is helpful. Let’s go over the security.”
Steve told O’Callahan all he knew. “I don’t know who was assigned last night. You’d have to ask Jamie that.”
“You’re old friends, aren’t you?”
O’Callahan leaned back. “You do know it’s an inside job.”
“It certainly could be.”
“Your friend could be in on it.”
“He could be, but Jamie would never be part of such a thing.”
“So you would think, but of course you’re biased.”
“Yes, but I’d recommend that you look into the rest of the staff.”
“Oh, we will.”
& & & & & &
Steve said goodbye to a worried Jamie, and he and Diana left the museum.
“I sent her back home. She’s contacting Mother.”
Steve squeezed her hand. “I’m sorry, Angel.”
Diana squeezed back. “It’s not your fault, my darling.”
“Jamie was very upset that you’re going to lose the charity funding.”
“Hmm, perhaps not.” Diana turned around, tugging Steve. “Let’s go back and see Jamie again.”
& & & & & &
The crowds were even greater now, stretching out for blocks. Diana smiled at Steve, who approached her as she sat the table in front of the empty platform where Hera’s Chalice had once reposed.
“Angel, you’re more of a draw then the Chalice.”
Diana laughed. “I certainly hope so!”
Steve kissed her and whispered, “You probably saved Jamie’s job.”
“My pleasure, Beloved.” Diana had a set of pens spread out before her and a set of glossy photographs with her posed beside the Chalice.
Laura McKinney called, “We’re going to open the exhibit, Wonder Woman.”
The crowds were excited but respectful. After receiving their autographs, they moved off to view the exhibit.
Steve spoke to Laura as Diana made pleasantries with each person. Diana glanced from time-to-time at the two of them.
It amused her that Steve fit in so perfectly with her people’s beautiful objets d’art.
From the very first, he has been a work of art. She smiled and signed. Warm flesh, not marble, but beautiful just the same.
The sunlight streamed in through tall stained-glass windows, surrounding Steve with a halo of rainbow as he moved his head.
Medea stalked in, people stunned at her presence. She went directly to Diana.
“Princess, what are you doing?”
“It is beneath you! Signing for children is one thing, but…”
“But what, Medea?” Diana’s loose bracelets she wore over her Amazon ones jangled as she pushed back a strand of hair from her eyes. Dressed in a Greek chiton and heavy gold jewelry, she fit in perfectly.
“I do it for the charity. The woman’s shelters are in need of finding.”
“Yes, because so many male pigs beat their women.” Medea snorted. “Nothing changes even after thousands of years.”
Diana said nothing. Medea did speak the truth, after all. She recalled the women she had met in those shelters, battered souls caused by their so-called loved ones.
“Medea, we come to this world to make it better. Speak first with love, then with hostility if we must.”
Medea rested her hand on her sword. “I prefer hostility first.”
Diana laughed. “So be so.” She motioned to Laura to start sending the patrons again. “We shall speak further tonight.”
As Steve approached, Medea bowed and left.
“Everything all right, Angel?”
He looked around and then his gaze settled on hers with gentle love. “It looks as if the Crown Princess is the Crown Jewel of this exhibit.”
Diana’s eyes sparkled. “Thank you, my darling.” Love shone from her eyes with the same gentle affection.
He smiled, then said in a serious tone, “We need to speak. Dinner tonight?”
“I’ll call you when I’m free.”
Steve bent down and kissed her, the patrons grinning. He winked and walked away, Diana aware of admiring glances thrown his way. Pride infused her smile as she greeted the next patron.
& & & & & &
Diana and Steve sat at their favorite table in Rossetti’s in the North End. They had a lot of favorite places around town: O’Doul’s, a pub in South Boston; Laurel Leaves, a Greek restaurant downtown, Roman Holiday, a pizza parlor here in the North, and Pier 59, a seafood place down by the harbor.
“How’s the hand?”
Diana wiggled her fingers. “Still fine.”
Steve winked. “Glad to hear it.”
Diana smiled serenely.
Steve drank his wine and sighed. “Detective O’Callahan is checking out all avenues, but I have to agree with him that it looks like an inside job.”
“So he suspects Jamie?”
Steve nodded as he dipped a piece of warm bread into a dish of olive oil. “I’m a suspect, too.”
“I think I can say you’re off my list.”
Steve chuckled. “Thank you for the vote of confidence.”
Diana’s eyes sparkled. She speared a ziti and ate, enjoying the crushed red pepper sauce. “Do you have any ideas as to suspects?”
“If it’s an inside job, Security and IT come to mind immediately, but there are other people involved: the other staffs, such as curators, support staff, and the like.”
“Do you have any clues?”
“Not right now.” Steve sighed. He pushed his wineglass around. “I miss you.”
Diana smiled. “I miss you, too, Beloved.” Her hand slipped across the table and their fingers entwined. “Medea would have gone home after a week. There was no need of her to stay for the weeks that the exhibit was scheduled, but now…” She sighed. “…she of course wishes to search.”
“Well, then, that gives me more incentive to find the Chalice.”
Steve squeezed Diana’s hand and smiled, her gentle laughter a balm to his soul.