As The Dark Knight drifts into port, Bruce runs over his plan one more time. Get in, retrieve the information, attempt to keep his crew on board, get out. All in all, the stop shouldn’t take them more than a few hours. They could be back on track before the sun rises, if they’re lucky.
“You sure you want to walk into the middle of Gotham without backup?” Dick asks as he hands over Bruce’s coat. Bruce takes it and looks towards the busy city, awake even at this hour. He can tell his First Mate wants to argue with him again.
“You stay here, keep the rest of them out of trouble. I’ll be in and out,” Bruce responds. He watches as Jason shouts at Tim to tie the damn rope tighter. He’ll be able to leap onto the dock within a few minutes.
“B, we don’t even know if she’s here, at least-”
“Nightwing. Stay here.” Bruce commands. Dick straightens up a bit upon hearing the commanding voice of his Captain. He glares through the nod he gives Bruce.
“Fine. If you’re not back in three hours I’m sending someone after you.” Sometimes, Bruce wishes that his children didn’t inherit his stubbornness.
“Three. Hours. Now go before Damian demands that you make a stop at the market again.”
Bruce sighs and sweeps his coat onto his shoulders. He tugs his hat into place and looks to Jason, who gives him a thumbs up. Bruce ruffles Tim’s hair as he passes by, climbs over the edge of the ship, and lands on the dock.
Bruce has never minded stopping in Gotham. The night here is almost certainly louder than the day, bars only doubling in capacity and the seemingly nocturnal vendors of the market sprawling through the streets. It made slipping into side alleys much easier. Bruce blends with the shadows as he walks the familiar path to a familiar side door.
As soon as he enters, he hears her voice.
“I was wondering what hour of the night you’d appear,” Selina calls. Bruce removes his hat and looks up to the top of the stairs. Selina is leaning against the railing, an eyebrow raised.
“Sorry it’s so late,” Bruce offers. Selina scoffs and motions for him to follow as she turns and walks to her study. He dutifully climbs the stairs.
“Don’t tell me you’ve gone and gotten manners, pirate boy,” Selina laughs.
“Of course not, ma’am,” Bruce responds, smiling as Selina rolls her eyes. She opens the door to her study and walks to her desk. Bruce remains in the doorway.
After a bit of shuffling around, Selina pulls out a thick parcel, wrapped in thick paper. She places it in a metal box, shuts it, and hands it to Bruce.
“You mustn’t open that until you’ve left the dock. Do not let anyone get their hands on that,” Selina says, suddenly very serious. Bruce looks at the box. It’s smooth, devoid of any design or markings. To think he went all this way for a package no bigger than his fists. He looks back to Selina and nods.
Selina slides her smile back into place and pats him on the shoulder.
“Off you go then. Give the children my love.”
Bruce tucks the box into his jacket and makes his way back down the stairs and to the door. He hesitates for a moment.
“Be careful, Selina,” he says. He’s out the door before she can call him a hypocrite.
There’s some sort of commotion happening in the market. The voices of guards men reach Bruce’s ears, and for a moment he thinks the worst. Someone saw him, they know he’s here.
But then, there’s a heavy weight slamming into him and falling to the ground. He looks down to see a disheveled man looking up at him, a satchel clutched tightly in his hands.
“Holy shit you’re a pirate.”
Hal has screwed up quite a few times in his life, but this has to be one of the biggest screw ups he’s ever managed. Maybe. At least top 5. Possibly top 10. It would be higher on the list if he was more afraid for his life at the moment, and if he wasn’t having so much fun.
His lungs were burning and his legs ached, but running through Gotham on pure adrenaline and determination was very thrilling. He lets out a whoop as he vaults over a vendor, grip tightening on the package in his hand. He hears the shouts of the guards men overlaying with the yelling of the now-angry vendor as he sprints down the narrow streets. Take that, Thaal.
Eventually, the rather intense arguing fades enough and he can finally catch a break. He quickly slips into a slim alleyway, only to run smack into a brick wall of a chest. It takes him a moment to realize that he’s flat on his ass.
How on earth did they manage to get ahead of him? Hal looks up sheepishly to see- definitely not the guards men.
“Holy shit you’re a pirate,” he says rather eloquently. He studies the man in front of him. The severe angles of his jaw, the blue eyes, the ridiculous hat, the cloak that hardly passes for a coat. He’d recognize the man from the wanted posters anywhere.
“Holy shit you’re The Bat,” Hal whispers. The man in front of him tenses, hand dropping to his sword. Hal’s eyes widen and he scrambles to his feet.
“Look I don’t want any trouble. Well, anymore trouble than I already have. I’m not gonna tell anyone that you’re here or anything. Blue eyes narrow at him.
The shouting of the guards men grows in volume, and Hal suddenly has his worst idea yet.
“I’m not gonna tell anyone that you’re here. But you have to take me with you,” Hal rushes out.
“Excuse me?” The Bat growls out. Hal cringes, but barrels on.
“If you don’t take me with you, I’ll tell them that you’re here,” Hal says with a little more confidence. The man in front of him studies Hal for a moment. The stomping of feet grows louder.
“No you won’t.” He says. Hal groans in frustration.
“Okay, no I won’t. But what I have with me cannot fall into their hands, do you understand? So take me with you. Get me to any other port city,” Hal says. The guards men sound like they’re just around the corner now.
Without warning, The Bat is gripping Hal’s arm and running down the alleyway.
Bruce can see his crew jump into motion as soon as they’re within sight. Even as Bruce sprints away from a group of armed men, he feels proud of how efficient his crew is.
As Bruce and the nameless thief race down the dock, Bruce tugs the man in front of him and pushes him towards the ladder that runs up the side of the ship. He doesn’t wait to see if he’s started climbing before whirling around pulling out his sword.
Bruce’s sword clashes with another. He doubts that he can take on 7 men on his own, but he can hold them off long enough for Jason and Tim to get the ship moving. He can hear the shouts of his crew as they scramble to ready the ship. It only takes them a few minutes before they’re shouting for Bruce to jump aboard.
Bruce doesn’t hesitate before spinning around and jumping for the side of the ship. He scrambles up the side and pushes himself over the railing, tucking and rolling onto the deck.
The flurry of movement around him doesn’t stop as the ship is maneuvered out of the port, but he blocks out the noise and narrows in on the stranger aboard his ship.
Bruce closes the space between them and brings his sword up to the man’s throat.
“Who are you,” The Bat growls, voice firm and demanding. Hal stumbles backwards, once again landing on his ass. Bruce moves the tip of his sword downwards.
“Hal. Hal Jordan,” he says.
“Why were you running.”
“Because I took back something they stole from me.”
“What did they steal?”
“I don’t really think you need to know-”
“What. Did. They. Steal.” Hal hesitates for a moment, looks around the ship. The ship full of pirates, pirates whose eyes feel like they’re trained on Hal, despite being occupied with manning the ship. Hal sighs and slowly opens the satchel, revealing a glowing green rock. Bruce would be foolish not to recognize what he’s brought onto his ship.
They stare at each other for a tense moment. The sword in Bruce’s hand flips around and slides back into its sheath. He pushes himself up and holds out a hand for Hal.
“My name is Bruce Wayne.” Hal stares at his hand for a moment before taking it and allowing himself to be pulled back to his feet. Bruce’s mouth ticks upwards into a smile.
“Welcome Aboard The Dark Knight.”