Word count: 2381.
A/N: First fic for my NaNoWriMo project this year. Inspired by a request from johanirae: ...what would Batman do when he's really REALLY jealous? Like some random policewoman flirting with Jim on the street, unaware Batman's glaring from the shadows....
The commotion is slowly calming down, police cars are vacating the scene, most of the ambulances are gone, and some of the crime scene units are already arriving. The chaos of the action had given way to more organized assessment and damage control.
Bruce watches people and cars move purposefully, from above it looks like a coordinated dance, or a beehive at its most productive. He supposes, that with that many officers on the scene he should make himself scarce, and quite possibly have a bruise on his shoulder that hurts like hell checked, but it's not bleeding at the moment, and he's determined to see it through, putting together the entire thing, and collecting the evidence that led to this bust and would actually hold up in court took months. And besides, there's only one cop on the scene who actually looks into the shadows, and that's the one cop Batman actually trusts right now.
Jim Gordon is currently sitting in the back of one of the ambulances still parked by the warehouse, listening to the medical examiner intently. There's a higher body count than either of them expected, even counting out the bodies found on the scene already. Even from the rooftop, Bruce can see Jim's frown, and the tired way in which he's pushing his glasses further up his nose, no doubt anticipating the miles and miles of paperwork coming his way.
The doctor finishes her report and waves in the general direction of the warehouse, saying something Bruce can't really catch from all the way up here, but he's waiting for her to walk away, and for Jim to start making his way to the sides of the scene, as he usually does on such occasions, on a simple pretense of having a smoke. Bruce's about to take a step back from the roof's edge, when the doctor tilts her head, gesturing to Jim's side, and a spot of dried blood on his shirt, right under the shoulder holster.
That, in itself, is not strange, Jim has a tendency to forego treatment of any minor injuries until it's absolutely necessary, of he finds some free time. Which, of course, never happens. And while Bruce may disapprove of it in his friend, he definitely can't point it out without getting at least a pointed look, possibly a smirk, and really, lately, the smirks had became infuriating on a whole different level. Which he is ignoring.
What is strange, is not the injury itself, but rather the fact that Jim doesn't shrug it off, but lets the doctor take a look at it, putting up only a minor show of reluctance. The doctor, Callahan, Bruce finally recalls her name, tosses her hair over her shoulder and leans in, gently working on cleaning out the cut, saying something that causes Jim to laugh softly, and honestly, this shouldn't be bothering Bruce this much.
This was his conscious choice, to ignore the desire to linger after each meeting on the edge of a crime scene, or a rooftop, or, occasionally, Jim's porch. At first Bruce had thought it was just him, an unfortunate side effect of having to rely on just one person to be Batman's contact with the law enforcement, with anyone really, but all too often now there is an unmistakable smile of pleasure on Jim's face when they meet, a slight hesitation at the end, one tentative invitation to a coffee that Bruce had pretended not to understand.
It would be too complicated, he tells himself, again and again, it would be foolish, and risky, and downright irresponsible. The scariest thing is, a part of him doesn't really care.
It might be the very same part of him that grits his teeth when Callahan laughs, her hand still on Jim's shoulder even though she's done with the wound; a scratch, really. Highly unprofessional, Bruce thinks, and doesn't care if it sounds unkind. It's his own head, and he can sound as uncharitable as he wants.
She shows too much of her gums when she smiles, he thinks, but she's still reasonably pretty, and when she says something, long fingers brushing her hair away from her face, Jim smiles back, the rare real smile. Bruce almost turns and walks away, his gloved hand clenched tightly, but he watches on, as she nods at Jim, her head tilted as she says something more, shrugging as she does, and Bruce knows with utmost certainty, that this is an invitation. A coffee, maybe, drinks after work, it doesn't matter, it's just an excuse and just a beginning, and the worst thing is that Jim nods back, smiling lightly.
Callahan disappears inside one of the two remaining ambulances which leave promptly, and Jim appears to be walking aimlessly, playing with a pack of cigarettes, lost in thoughts. It's studiously nonchalant, almost, and Bruce knows very well where he's going to end, and indeed, moments later, Jim's leaning against the wall of the warehouse in the spot where the only street lamp had gone out. He lits the cigarette and holds it cupped in his hand, waiting.
"Cold night," he says, after a moment, and doesn't even turn to look into the shadows that became more substantial seconds ago. He's smiling, real and honest, and Bruce feels slightly relieved that he still gets that smile. He's also fairly angry at himself for feeling relieved, but that's another matter.
"How well do you know her?" he asks, and immediately regrets, but thankfully, Jim gets his question completely wrong, and frowns.
"Do you have any reason to suspect..." he lets his voice fade, his entire stance changing, shoulders slumping. He had enough hard time cleaning out the department of crooked cops, a thought that he has to watch his back from the MEs office as well is clearly an unpleasant one.
"No." And if he's honest with himself, he would prefer it if he did, the instant feeling of dislike for her wouldn't be this irrational and foolish.
The lines on Jim's face shift from the expression of worry to that of puzzlement, and he shrugs. "She signed my death certificate," he offers.
"That well, then."
There is a slight eyeroll in response to this comment, then Jim shrugs, relaxing and leaning slightly more against the wall, taking a drag of his cigarette, then discarding it and putting it out with the tip of his shoe. "I trust her, if that's what you're asking about."
No, it really isn't. But he's not sure how to explain it, and besides, the point of Batman is not having to explain himself, after all, so he just nods, and watches the last police SUV leave.
Jim shifts again, adjusts his glasses and looks into the distance, thoughtful. "We didn't get them all, of course," he says, his voice a little tired. "The bosses fled the country, but this was to be expected. I don't suppose..." he starts, and stops, looking at Batman expectantly. He won't formulate the question, but he really doesn't have to.
"I'll look into it," Bruce agrees.
Jim looks as if he wanted to add something more, his lips part for a brief moment, but he stays silent, one hand absently edging the line of his shoulder holster, right above the blood stain.
"You should go home and rest," Bruce says, and for a brief moment he's surprised it came out loud; this is not something Batman says to the Gotham Commissioner, even if their relationship over the last year shifted from purely work-related to something escaping definitions. Not that he tries to define it, this trail of thoughts leads to certain trouble.
"That's what Jenny said," Jim says, laughing, letting his hand fall to his side.
"Jenny?" Bruce asks, his voice even more raspy than usual, because he knows the answer, and he really doesn't like it.
Bruce doesn't even realise he moved until Jim tilts his head, mouth opening in a never voiced question. Bruce's gloved palm rests on the side of Jim's neck, and before he can talk himself out of it, he leans closer, hard clink of cowl against glasses as their lips meet, and Jim stiffens in surprise, but just before Bruce can move away and die of mortification, Jim's body softens like a molten clay, fitted perfectly against Bruce.
And even though it was Bruce who started it, it's Jim's tongue coaxing his lips open, Jim's thumb running across his jaw keeping him from panicking. It shouldn't be happening, no matter how much he wanted it, he had learned this particular lesson the hardest way.
"Stop that," Jim breathes out, moving away just a fraction of an inch, his glasses fogged as he moves to take them off. "I know what you're thinking, so just stop."
Bruce wants to protest, but there's a new edge in Jim's voice, a determination absent before, and maybe he does know, maybe he had been second guessing himself for as long as Bruce was, maybe he's well aware of the gamble they're about to take. "It's a bad idea," is all he says, and Jim laughs softly, his breath tickling Bruce's lips.
"What isn't?" he mutters, and Bruce has to concede the point. They had so many idea that bordered on insane, so many desperate plans and ventures they couldn't succeed; this seems easy, natural. Fighting it seemed like raging against gravity, and even though Batman could cheat it once in a while, he couldn't win in the long run.
And maybe looking at it as if it was a fight to be won, problem to be solved, was a wrong way.
"I have to get back to the station," Jim says, his voice almost professional again, if not for the small smile tugging at the corner of his mouth, if not for the slight hitch in his breathing.
"Paperwork," Bruce guesses, and gets the expected sigh and frown. It's less convincing now that Jim's fingers still rest on the side of his face, the thumb absently tracing the jaw line.
"Among other things."
Jim's hand slides down the leathery cowl, brushing Bruce's shoulder briefly, and Bruce closes his eyes, wishing this touch was skin on skin, or even just through the thin cloth of his shirt, not kevlar layers keeping him from feeling anything. He reaches up absently, guessing his own purpose only when Jim does, and catches Bruce's hand, stilling it.
"It shouldn't be long," Jim says, and the faraway tone implicates he's not really talking about his duties back at the MCU where he kept his old office. "You do know where to find me."
It's a way out, Bruce knows, if he doesn't appear this will be forgotten and never spoken of again, and while it might be wise and safe, it's not what he wants.
He holds Jim's gaze and gently eases his hand out, then takes off the gloves. Jim watches his hands in fascination, breathes in sharply as Bruce's fingers tug gently at his tie, just to ease the knot a little, to place his hand on Jim's neck and feel the pulse racing under his fingertips.
"You don't have to," Jim says, his voice strained and low.
"I know," he says, and it's the voice of Bruce, not Batman, and Jim raises his head up sharply, his eyes wide open, holding his breath as Bruce slowly undoes the clasps of the cowl and takes it off.
There's a surprise in Jim's eyes, but it's slighter than Bruce expected, and gone much sooner, and Jim's fingers are mapping Bruce's face, brushing away the sweat from his forehead, thumb running down the side, smudging the black paint across his cheek.
Bruce's hand covers Jim's, and they still for a moment, their breathing almost in a perfect synch, hastening as Bruce leans in again, lips gently meeting, just a soft brush, Bruce's skin tickled by Jim's mustache as his tongue sneaks across Jim's lower lip.
"Bruce," Jim says, quiet and intimate, and Bruce feels like he's been waiting ages to hear it said that way. He deepens the kiss hungrily, Jim's hand resting on the back of his neck, fingers tangled in his hair, pulling him closer.
"Jim," he says pleasantly, pulling back a fraction, and Jim laughs, head rolling backwards and hitting the wall with a soft thud. It's greatly convenient, as it leaves his neck exposed and inviting, and Bruce tugs the tie off completely, and starts on the shirt buttons as he trails the line of Jim's jaw, down his throat, the exposed Adam's apple, and lower across the collarbone.
Jim's hands are now at both sides of Bruce's face, guiding him back into a bruising kiss, and at this moment, Bruce hates his suit quite a lot, because this isn't enough contact, he wants to get closer, feel Jim's hands everywhere.
Jim pulls back, swearing, and only as he's fighting to take something out of his pocket does Bruce notice the ringing. "Gordon," Jim listens for a moment, frowning, his tongue tentatively running across his lower lip, now visibly swollen. "I'll be there as soon as I can."
"Excellent timing," Bruce offers, stepping back.
"Quite. They have a lead on a charter flight that..." he starts, and stops when Bruce reaches out and buttons back Jim's shirt, then fixes his tie into an elegant knot. When he's done, Jim is looking at him in amazement before kissing him softly, just a faintest brush of lips against Bruce's.
"You know where to find me," he repeats, and this time it's a promise.