“Greed is a nasty thing,” an old man had told Damian once, when he was still a kid living in a brick alleyway, alone in a dangerous city. He had no one to help him, besides this crusty old man who had the audacity to tell him that greed is wicked. Greed is what kept Damian alive from ages eight to twenty eight. Greed is what gave him the fight for that one extra piece of bread that would save him when he was on the brink of death in that alleyway.
Greed is why he learned to pick locks and crack safes, and it’s the reason why he’s wanted in four nations for thefts, bank robberies, and at least 53 cases of attempted murder. Not that he minds, of course, because he loves it. He loves the thrill of the chase and, most importantly, the reward at the end. The reward keeps him alive, he tells himself. He needs more.
Damian’s most favorite type of reward currently glimmers in a glass case, gilded in rubies and sapphires and emeralds. The crown is guarded by the best security in the entire world, but he’s going to get it. He won’t be able to live without it, and he knows that for sure.
“You’re going to get it, aren’t you?” Robin asks him, twirling her hair nervously. Robin is always nervous, too nervous for the wife of a criminal, yet here she is.
“Of course I am, babe,” Damian drawls, grabbing his coat off of the rack and giving Robin a kiss on the cheek. “When have I ever failed you?”
“Never,” Robin responds firmly. “Now, go get that damn crown. You deserve something good after all your years of hard work.”
Damian’s eye twitches, but he regains the mischievous smile quick enough. If the old man were here, he would say that none of what Damian has done was hard work, that it was cheating. Even though he owes his life to that old man, the words exchanged between them regarding Damian’s choices in life were never the kindest.
There’s a tattoo on Damian’s lower back that has the one word that they argued about the most: greed. It’s not like Damian thinks that greed is good; it’s just a necessary evil. He’d be dead without that never ending urge to have it all, and he knows that for sure.
Strolling out the door like a man on a mission, he pulls a pack of cigarettes out of his pocket and lights one, taking a long drag from it. The smoke clouds around him for a second as he exhales, but it vanishes with a swipe of his hand. His phone rings, a high pitched trill like a chorus of birds, and he picks it up with his other hand, answering the call.
“Having a pleasant day, Will?” he greets shortly and the other man over the phone sighs dramatically. Will was always one for theatrics, in Damian’s opinion.
“I won’t be if you get me and your wife and everyone else you care about arrested tonight,” Will responds and Damian smiles around his cigarette.
“Don’t worry, you two are the only people I care about,” Damian says and Will scoffs.
“How sweet,” Will says sarcastically and Damian shrugs to himself. “I’ll see you later, alright? Don’t get started without me,” Will finishes.
“Of course not,” Damian says. “Goodbye, William.”
“Don’t call me that,” Will hisses and Damian hangs up, tucking the phone back into his coat pocket and heading for the elevators, stubbing the cigarette on an ashtray on the way out.
Clicking the down button and watching it glow yellow, he considers picking up a Starbucks latte on the way to the museum.
After all, it’s going to be a long night.