Dick found most of these parties boring. It didn’t really matter whether it was a fundraiser, a ball or just a general social gathering of the rich and powerful, it was always about the same thing: power. People came here to network and gossip and make plans and coalitions.
As Dick Grayson, the carefree ward of Bruce Wayne, he outwardly seemed like none of it ever mattered to him and he was just out for a good time– he was literally so rich the rules didn’t have to apply to him. But in actuality this was just another role he played.
As a teenager he’d played the part of a rambunctious young man, often in the papers for his crazy stunts and in gossip magazines for his wild parties and a seemingly endless line of girlfriends. As a young adult he’d calmed down a bit, he still had a tendency to drink too much or flirt a bit more than might be appropriate for an engaged man and he’d never quite lost that mischievous glint in his eye, but he wasn’t the walking disaster he had been either.
Certainly no one would ever have thought he was the sort of person who could be a vigilante like Nightwing. He didn’t have the discipline or the attention span and frankly (though most people would’ve been too polite to say this louder than a whispering gossip voice) he wasn’t intelligent enough either.
And that was the whole point. That was why Dick had to make the occasional appearance at whatever gala or premier happened to be going on, so that people would remember he was at best a lovable dunce and at worst a borderline alcoholic and a giant flirt.
Or that’s what Dick was trying to convince himself as Stacy Wellington once again leaned way too close to his personal space and fluttered her eyelashes at him.
“ Oh, come on Dickie, it’s so stuffy in here, don’t you think a bit of fresh air would be nice?” her voice was sultry, almost a whisper and she was biting her lip ever so slightly. She couldn’t have made her suggestion clearer if she added ‘wink, wink, nudge, nudge’ to the end of her sentence.
Dick pretended to find the proposition tempting before shaking his head ruefully. “I don’t think my fiancée would like that, Stacy.”
Stacy giggled a little and latched onto his arm like a human handbag. Dick stamped down on the instinct to throw her off. “What Miss Gordon doesn’t know won’t hurt her. I promise to keep this all to myself.”
Dick couldn’t resist throwing a nervous glance around the room, he hated when people said stuff like that. The wonderful, terrifying thing about Barbara Gordon was that she always found out about everything, it was what she excelled at.
Dick knew very well that Barbara wouldn’t be jealous even if she did hear about what Stacy had said. She’d be more likely to laugh at Dick’s predicament than anything, because she knew how little interest Dick had in an affair with a socialite who was likely after either bragging rights for sleeping with him or a way to get into his money.
As he looked about the room, he caught Tim lowering his cell phone with a mischievous smirk. He caught Dick’s gaze and waved slightly, before starting to furiously tap away on his phone. The little gremlin was probably sending picture evidence of Dick’s capture to Barbara right now.
Trapped as he was, there wasn’t much Dick could do besides throw an angry glare toward his little brother. Tim got off easier at these events, he spent most of his time on his phone, pretending to be one of those teenagers constantly glued to their screens. Well, pretend was a strong word, Tim already spent most of his time on the bat computer anyway – he would probably be working on his phone right now if he weren’t trying to embarrass Dick.
Stacy’s face was starting to draw into a perfect little sulk, meaning Dick had gotten distracted for too long. He didn’t feel like making pointless enemies today, after all, Stacy came from quite a bit of money herself, so he took her hand into his and gave it a gentle kiss. That made Stacey giggle, and had the added benefit of having her release her grip on him.
“Sorry Stace, I really can’t. How about I introduce you to my brother Tim instead, he hasn’t stopped talking about you since he saw that photoshoot of you in the People magazine.”
Stacey snorted, more unladylike now that she could see her chances slipping away from her. Good, it meant she hadn’t taken offence and Dick liked her more when she was relaxed anyway. “He’s a little young for me, don’t you think?”
Dick winked at her. “Yeah, but he’s also a horribly awkward teenager and it’s fun to tease him. I bet you could make him blush with a look.”
Stacey hit his arm playfully but didn’t latch on this time. “You’re awful! But it is true I haven’t met the future CEO of Wayne Enterprises yet, so do lead the way Dickie.”
Dick gasped theatrically, amused despite himself. “Were you just using me to get to my brother this whole time?”
“Whatever do you mean?” she asked and batted her eyes innocently.
Dick might’ve felt bad about doing this to Tim, but Tim had it coming. Stacey was going to eat him alive.
Tim watched them approach with masked wariness on his face, he wasn’t holding onto his phone anymore, clearly not dumb enough to leave incriminating evidence where Dick could reach it.
“Tim!” Dick called out in his overly friendly Dickie Grayson tone of voice, easily heard over the people still between them. “Have you met Stacey Wellington yet? You know, Stace from that photoshoot you keep talking about, the beach issue one.”
Tim’s eyes widened in mortification, his spine stiffening and mouth opening to form a response but finding nothing coming out but incoherent spluttering. The people around them were giving them looks varying on a range from amused to disapproving.
Stacey leaned a little closer to Dick’s side and whispered: “Pure evil , Dick Grayson.” Dick let the grin on his face widen a fraction more.
“Nice to meet you Tim, I’ve seen you on the papers too of course. Are you really as smart as everyone says?” Stacey swooped in with a pretty, polite smile, pretending like she hadn’t noticed anything amiss with Dick’s introduction, the perfect way to soothe a bruised male ego.
Dick knew Tim saw it too and that it would only embarrass him that much further. “I don’t- well, I don’t feel very smart right now,” Tim grumbled resentfully, and Dick hid a laugh behind a fake cough. Tim glared at him.
At this point Nightwing would’ve shown mercy, Dick Grayson probably would’ve showed mercy but Dickie the socialite wasn’t even tempted.
“Don’t sell yourself short, Timmy! Do you know this little bugger gets top scores on all his classes and helps Bruce run his company? At his age all I was thinking about was girls and partying!”
Stacey gave Dick a look of gentle reprimand, completely playing along. “I’m sure he’s very popular with the girls too, Dickie.”
Tim could see his doom approaching and valiantly tried to intervene. “ No, I – “
Dick ruffled Tim’s hair, with a fraction more force than completely necessary. “ Of course he is, always on that phone of his, texting away. You know, I caught him talking to a girl yesterday, but he just refuses to tell me who it was. Bruce better be ready for when the hormones hit.”
Tim looked like he might bite Dick, appearances be damned. Stacey’s eyes were glinting with amusement and there was a slight shake to her shoulders as she was trying to not laugh.
Dick didn’t think he could continue the conversation without bursting out laughing himself, so he spotted Bruce across the room and made his getaway.
“I think Bruce is calling me, you two keep on talking. You should ask Tim about his hobbies Stacey; did you know he learned Japanese from watching anime? He’s just that smart!”
That might’ve been an actual growl Tim was making so Dick hurried on along, before an actual fight broke out. He’d sufficiently fulfilled his brotherly duties of embarrassing his younger sibling, anyway.
“Hi, Bruce,” Dick greeted and stole Bruce’s champagne glass – just soda colored like champagne – and took a long sip.
Bruce lifted an eyebrow at him. “Don’t you think you were a little hard on your brother there? He looks like he might burst into flames from embarrassment.” He didn’t sound too upset by it, he probably agreed that Tim needed to loosen up a bit sometimes.
“Nah he had it coming. Snitches get stitches.”
“Ah yes, I noticed the photos he texted in the group chat.”
Group chat? Well now he was extra glad he’d done what he had. In fact… Dick tried to sneakily get his phone out when Bruce stopped him by putting a hand on his arm.
“I think that’s enough warfare for one night, Dick. In fact, it might be time to call it a night with how much you’ve already drank.”
Dick hadn’t had anything but soda the entire night, which Bruce knew, but he wasn’t going to say no to a chance to get home early. If he was lucky, he might even get some patrolling done today.
“Yeah, you’re probably right, Bruce. See you later, say good night to Tim and Damian for me.”
Dick did wave at Tim and Stacey as he passed them from afar, Tim’s returning glare promised him murder. That meant Dick was probably getting all his social media hacked for at least a week, but that was all right. There was a good chance Barbara would help him mitigate the damage and in any case it was worth it.
By the time Dick got to his car (an expensive sportscar Bruce insisted he drive when he came to these kinds of parties , for appearances sake), he was whistling a tune and in a pretty good mood. He drove away from the Hall family’s countryside mansion, down the narrow forest roads that lead up to it. The soft evening light and the quiet purr of his car were making him feel relaxed and content. Maybe he wouldn’t go out patrolling today and instead got a decent night’s sleep for once.
That relaxedness quickly slipped away when a car turned away from a small side road and started following him. The road ahead was a straight line for at least a few miles, and it was too narrow to turn the car around in. It was of course possible that the car behind him wasn’t following him and was instead just taking the same route, but at this time of night in these fairly secluded parts that was unlikely.
Dick’s suspicions were confirmed when he was stopped by a roadblock: two black cars and an unmarked van sitting there with their headlights on, pointed straight at Dick.
Dick cursed and forced his heartbeat to calm as he slowed his car to a stop. The van likely meant they were after a kidnapping; it was probably better they kidnap him and not one of the other guests at the party.
Two men got out of the cars and walked up to Dick, guns in hand. Dick sighed and rolled down his window. “Look, I’ll transfer three million to both of your accounts right now if you just let me go, okay? Save all of us a lot of trouble.”
The men raised their guns to point at Dick’s head. “Get out,” one of them commanded.
“Four million?” Dick tried, because he was an optimist. The men cocked their guns. Dick got out of the car, mentally saying goodbye to an early night’s sleep.
He was immediately handcuffed with his hands behind his back and a bag was put on his head. Then he was roughly pushed and pulled onboard the van.
There were at least three guards sitting in the back of the van, Dick could hear them breathing. Seemed like overkill for just one rich kid, they couldn’t have expected him to put up a fight? He wondered if these people had targeted anyone leaving the party or if they’d been specifically waiting for a Wayne. They hadn’t seemed overly interested with money, so it could’ve been the latter, kidnapping a Wayne was always a Gotham villains' popular pastime if they were trying to draw the Batman out. Of course, they could’ve just been after way more money than eight million, the Wayne’s could definitely afford that.
Dick tried to get comfortable on the bench he was sitting on, unsuccessfully. Every time the van made a steep turn, he’d go sliding around, usually bumping into the guard at his side. The guard shoved him farther, seeming grumpier by the moment as if this was somehow Dick’s fault.
“It’d be a lot easier to stay in place if I could hold onto something with my hands,” he complained out loud, because a brat of his stature would whine. Honestly a person in his shoes should probably be a scared, sobbing mess, but Dick didn’t really feel like going that far. Besides, it wasn’t like this was the first time Dick Grayson ever got kidnapped, he could play it like he was just being arrogant or something.
“Shut up,” the guard next to him commanded in a clipped tone.
Dick rolled his eyes. Which reminded him… “You could at least take the bag off; I mean what am I going to do – glare at you? This is just weird, guys.”
This time the guard pistol whipped him to the side of the head. “Ow!” That hurt!
Dick suppressed a sigh of frustration. Obviously, the bag was supposed to be some sort of an intimidation tactic, he was supposed to be so disoriented and scared of the unknown that he’d be an easy victim when they finally got to their destination. That was hardly going to happen. They’d probably take the bag off eventually and in the meantime, Dick could just lean against the wall of the van inconspicuously and focus on picking the lock of his handcuffs. Thank god Bruce was so paranoid he had Alfred sew lockpicks into all his kids’ shirt cuffs.
The lock took a few minutes, he’d never been as good at picking them as Jason or even Damian, but he got by well enough. He wasn’t exactly in a hurry here anyway. He might have been able to take these guys in a fight (especially if he didn’t have a bag over his head) but that would’ve pretty much given away his secret identity. So, he had no choice but to re-tighten the cuffs just so much that they still looked locked, but that Dick could slip out of if he needed to. He had to wait until they reached their destination before he tried anything, he might find a chance to do something then or maybe he’d have to wait for rescue – it also depended on what the kidnappers wanted from him.
When the van finally came to a halt, Dick was just relieved to get up. Crouching on the small bench and getting tossed around got uncomfortable really quickly and Dick was more than ready to make his move already. Unfortunately, he couldn’t do that yet, the guards had him at gunpoint to get him to co-operate. (Dick couldn’t see the guns since he still had a bag over his head, but the angry guard at his side kept poking him with the gun every time he felt Dick was being too slow to move.)
He was escorted to a building, a big one judging by the echo of several busy voices around, with stone floors. Likely a warehouse then, which didn’t really tell Dick anything as Gotham was comprised like 70% of warehouses. He was then shoved into a chair with his hands zip-tied to the chair.
“Oh, come on! Handcuffs and zip ties – do you think I’m Houdini or something?”
Damn it. You can’t lockpick a zip tie.
Someone pulled the bag off his head.
“Hello Mr. Wayne.” There was a tall, sturdy built man standing in front of him in a suit. His face didn’t look familiar, so he wasn’t a big player in the criminal underworld, at least yet. The guards were clearly taking their orders from him, but they didn’t seem intimidated, they looked at the guy with thinly veiled boredom on their faces.
If Dick had to guess he’d say the man was either a rising star in the Gotham criminal world or a newbie with lots of disposable money. He had to have enough money to hire the professionals who’d kidnapped Dick, at least.
“It’s Grayson, actually, I never took Bruce’s name,” Dick responded, because he hated when people got his surname wrong. It was almost always some kind of power play.
The man smirked. “Right. Well hopefully your dad will still like you enough to pay your ransom. I imagine the Wayne heir would be worth quite a bit.”
Wayne heir? In what world was he that? Tim was obviously going to inherit the WE and Damian was the only one that wanted to inherit the Wayne title and all it held. Dick would probably just inherit a sizeable trust fund and he was more than happy with that, the last thing he wanted was more responsibility in his life.
Dick sighed. “I’ll give you eight million dollars right now to let me go. My lawyers have strict instructions not to pay more than ten million for me, so honestly you’d get off a lot easier going with my offer.”
The man laughed and Dick was really starting to not like him. “It’s not your money I’m after, Mr. Wayne. I want Wayne Enterprise’s tech. You’ve got all the best toys there and a person such as myself could do a lot with those.”
“Ah.” Well that complicated things a little, cash would’ve been easier. “See, for that you’d have to go through my father and my brother, and I kind of really pissed off my brother today. Are you sure you won’t just take the money and buy the tech yourself?”
“I’m sure your brother will co-operate to save your life.”
“…Maybe,” Dick agreed doubtfully. It would depend on how cranky Tim was feeling and he hadn’t really slept in a few days, so he was probably pretty cranky right now.
Was it possible to set a teenager down for a nap without injuring their pride? Maybe with Alfred’s help? Questions for later.
The kidnapper patted him on the head condescendingly, because clearly, he enjoyed feeling like he was in control and powerful. The man was a walking cliché that Dick had seen a million times, no wonder the guards seemed bored.
The warehouse around them was big and filled with people running about, looking busy. Frankly it looked like this was their base of operations. But the fact that Dick had seen everyone’s faces around here didn’t bode well. Even if his kidnapper was dumb enough to let that happen and still let him walk away from here, the guards weren’t. They held themselves like soldiers and even though they were clearly unenthused about this job, they were still treating it seriously. That meant they were professionals and professionals didn’t leave loose ends hanging around.
Dick didn’t have long, then. They’d probably keep him around for a while after they made their first demands to show proof that he was still alive, but after that they wouldn’t have much need for him. He figured he had at best around eight hours. Now, eight hours would be plenty of time for Batman to find him, especially since they had to still be in Gotham based on the short drive over. But his family would likely only realize he was gone after the ransom demands were made. After all, he’d left the party early, Babs wasn’t expecting him home for a few more hours and Bruce and the others weren’t expecting to hear from him anymore today. For once it would’ve been a smarter choice to stick around and schmooze with the rich people.
The damn zip ties were durable too, Dick might’ve been able to wear away at them if the guards weren’t still watching him like a hawk. Whatever happened to hiring incompetent henchmen? It used to be all the rage back in the day and frankly, Dick had really appreciated it.
For now, it seemed he couldn’t do much but wait. If push came to shove his best bet was to try and trash the chair he was in to get free. He wasn’t sure that was going to work though, the chair seemed pretty sturdy .
If this was how he died, Dick was going to be so angry.
Since he didn’t really have anything else he could do at the moment, Dick settled in to wait. He kept an eye on the ebb and flow of the crowd inside the warehouse, mostly to stave off the boredom. He only had one guard left now, but he was keeping a firm eye on Dick.
Force of habit made Dick chart out all the entrances and exits, including the ones only the capes would use. That meant he was the only one who noticed a shadow slip into the rafters from a high up window.
Dick carefully kept his body language relaxed and let his eyes roam the room in their normal routes. He couldn’t see the figure well enough yet to identify them and he didn’t want to make them in case they were an ally. If they weren’t an ally… well, it wouldn’t surprise Dick if his night found ways to get even worse.
He followed the figure from his peripheral vision. They only stopped for a bit, to take in the scene, Dick assumed. Then they started moving from rafter to rafter, with apparent ease. They were clearly good: Dick could barely see them even though he knew they were there.
The figure had a clear destination in mind, heading toward the wall where there was a large pile of containers stacked on top of each other. There had been minions carrying boxes to and from it for the whole time Dick had been here. Dick assumed it was their main merchandise, an educated guess was either drugs or guns, usually in Gotham it was one of the two. Not that Dick really understood why, you’d think that after all these years Gotham would’ve been up to its knees in drugs and guns.
The figure dropped down from the rafters when no one but Dick was looking. Dick caught a flash of a leather jacket and something red.
Dick hung his head and swore.
His guard gave him a pointed glare and moved to do something, but before he had a chance, he was interrupted by an explosion.
The figure, or as he was more commonly known, Red Hood, had decided to explode the pile of drugs (and Dick could now say for certain that they were indeed drugs, by the color of the flames and the powder raining to the ground like it was snowing inside). It was a fairly contained explosion, probably calculated to be that way, so it didn’t blow up everyone inside the warehouse. A few people would have nasty burns, but no one had died, yet. Dick was vaguely worried about the fire spreading, but more imminently worried about the fact that the wannabe mobsters were drawing their weapons and the Red Hood had just popped out from behind a pillar.
The Hood was a great fighter, Dick was a little too personally aware of that fact. So, Dick wasn’t exactly surprised to see Jason wipe the floor with the mobsters who tried to take him on. He didn’t even need to use his guns for the most part.
Most of the workers took off once the fight started, a lot of the mobsters did too. That wasn’t too surprising, the organization was still too new, people didn’t have a real sense of loyalty to it and the Red Hood had a vicious reputation that nobody wanted to cross.
The Hood got bit more of a workout from the people who’d kidnapped Dick. Three of them were trying to take out Hood, while the fourth one tried to get the mob boss out of the warehouse. Since Dick had been completely forgotten in the confusion, he was trying to break the chair he was in to gain his freedom. The damn thing was proving to be sturdy.
Jason slammed one of the kidnappers into another one and made a fairly impressive back flip (it was alright , Dick supposed, but Jason’s form was still the slightest bit off. He could never stick the landing properly) to reach the fourth guard and the crime boss.
He slammed his fist in the guard’s face and knocked out the boss almost as an afterthought. The first guard was trying to get him from behind, but Jason spun around and broke his left foot in a single fluid motion, then violently slammed the man’s head to the floor. The guard stopped moving, Dick was hoping he was just unconscious.
It didn’t take long from there for the Red Hood to dispose of the rest of them. By the end of it he barely even seemed winded, though the helmet made it hard to tell. Dick couldn’t make out any serious injuries at least, though Hood was definitely going to have some bruises come morning.
Hood looked around, taking in the flaming pile of drugs that was already winding down, the unconscious and quietly whining in pain mobsters lying all around the warehouse and his body language was screaming smug. Only then did he confidently swagger his way to Dick.
“So, this is how the rich and powerful spend their Friday nights?” Dick could hear from his voice that Jason was smirking behind that helmet.
Dick rolled his eyes. “Yes, this is exactly what I wanted to be doing today. What are you doing here anyway? I didn’t think a small fry like this guy would ping on the radar of a crime boss like yourself.” Dick found it unlikely that Jason was here on his behalf.
“Aw, flattery will get you nowhere Mr. Wayne.” Asshole. “ These guys were trying to get into my Crime Alley, so I took ‘ em out. Have to say, I wasn’t expecting a hostage though.” Jason tapped his helmet approximately where his chin would’ve been. “Now what should I do with you then?”
Dread was pooling at the bottom of Dick’s stomach. “I’ll give you anything you want to let me out of here right now.”
Jason slowly took away his mask, revealing a grin so sharp you could’ve crushed bones with it. “Ah, but what I want, is to have you here right now, Dick .”
Half an hour later the police finally arrived on scene. Dick thought sourly that Jason must’ve called them here, because the average response time to a small explosion in Gotham was much longer. It usually wouldn’t have garnered all the reporters either.
There were plenty of paparazzi shots taken of Dick both before and after some police officer finally realized to free him from the goddamn chair. Normally, Dick wasn’t enthused to end up on the tabloids, but he was more or less resigned to it. Right now, he was ready to bite off the head of the next giggling reporter who tried asking him for a comment.
Even the officer, who insisted , on taking his testimony right here and now, had to disguise a bout of laughter into a cough a few times. Dick narrowed his eyes at the woman.
“Something funny, Officer?”
The officer looked away, furiously trying to smooth her lips into an even line, but the edges of her mouth kept betraying her and curling upwards. “No, no, sir, not at all.”
Dick gave up and sighed, running a hand through his hair. Fuck it. He was already going to be on the front page of every magazine tomorrow morning, might as well try to see the humorous side of things. “Really? So, you aren’t trying to keep a straight face despite the fact that there are dicks drawn on my face with permanent marker?”
A reporter who was standing within earshot was laughing so hard he was doubled over and wheezing for air.
The police officer took a few steadying breaths. “Permanent you say?” Then she coughed a little more.
It was nice that everyone was focusing on the relevant pieces of the story here. Just because he got kidnapped at least twice a month, didn’t mean Dick didn’t appreciate at least some modicum of professionalism taken about it.
“Yes, he was very enthusiastic about letting me know it was permanent marker,” Dick replied drily. “Almost as enthusiastic as he was pointing out the pun between the dicks and my name.”
The officer lifted her notepad in front of her face as a shield and broke down laughing, as if the pad could somehow keep Dick from hearing her.
This would probably be a very funny anecdote in time, Dick thought. Specifically, sometime after he was done taking out sweet revenge on the Hood.
Finally, when the police and the reporters were done hounding him, he found Alfred already waiting for him with a limo. In true Alfred fashion, the man merely raised an eyebrow at Dick’s appearance.
“It was Jason,” Dick told him defensively. He wasn’t sure why he was defensive; it wasn’t as if he’d drawn dicks on his own face.
“I’m sure, Master Richard,” Alfred replied completely expressionlessly. Dick swore the man was laughing at him deep under that British stone face. “I’ve taken the liberty to bring you a new phone, as I understand the old one will be in evidence lock up for quite some time now.”
“Thanks,” Dick replied warily. If Alfred specifically mentioned his phone, it was probably relevant. “What are the chances I’m going to like what I see when I open this?”
“I couldn’t begin to guess.”
That meant it was bad.
Dick opened his phone to find it pouring over with notifications. Most of them seemed to be from Twitter. Dick pressed the Twitter icon with trepidation and was immediately overwhelmed with the amount of people tagging him in posts.
#Dickface was trending on Twitter. The first, and the most popular, post seemed to be a picture of him staring grumpily just to the side of the camera, with all the crudely drawn dicks on his face captured in great detail . The post was sent from Tim’s account. After it, Tim had posted a flurry of other photos taken from the scene, with captions like “His outside finally matches his inside” and “Dick all the way through”. People all over the world were loving it. Barbara had retweeted a few.
Dick slowly put the phone down. “Well, then.”
All his siblings were dicks.