Pairing: Jim/Bruce, Babs/Steve
Rating: PG-13 for now.
Word count: 1279.
It didn't take Steve long to get to the house, and Babs looked at him suspiciously. He didn't seem to notice, looking around and shaking his head. "Your lawn is something tragic," he offered, and she rolled her eyes.
"That's not the worst thing about this," she told him and opened the doors wider, letting him in. Biscuit made a mad dash down the stairs, from where he probably was having a peaceful nap in Dad's bedroom, and jumped at Steve, all waging tail and fluffed fur.
"Hey, buddy," Steve laughed, crouching to pet the dog, letting the furball lick his face enthusiastically. "See, at least he's happy to see me," he told Babs quietly, not looking up.
"Well, I'm not kissing you now," she said dryly. "Not after this," she indicated the dog. Steve looked up then, as if to ask if there would be any kissing otherwise, and she nodded slightly, smiling.
"I got you the papers," he offered, handing her the bundle of pretty much every paper ever; all of them apparently preempted the first page to discuss her father's love life. It was just a little bit scary.
"Thanks," she smiled cheerfully. "Want to help me with these? I'm pretty sure it'll take up a full notebook," she added. She had a few full scrapbooks already, separate ones for Batman, kept hidden in a box under the bed. It might have been a little retentive, but at least she never missed one scrap of an article to tease Dad with.
"Figured," Steve nodded, digging into his messenger bag. "That's why I got you this," he added shyly, handing her a new notebook, in soft brown leather. She laughed delightedly, and leaned in kissing him lightly before she could talk herself out of it. They stayed still for a long moment after the kiss, lips almost touching still, and she smiled.
"I'll get scissors," she said finally, trying to keep the silly smile off her face. "Turn the tv on, the conference should start soon."
Five minutes later, they were all settled on the couch, cutting the articles out and gluing them into the books. Another five minutes, and some of the glue was in her hair, and the paper strips fluttered onto the floor, forgotten the moment he kissed her again.
"Don't let me interrupt", Jimmy muttered, plopping himself onto the couch. She rolled her eyes at the same time as she was straightening her shirt just that little bit. Steve seemed to be even more shaken than she was, which was a tiny consolation.
"Don't you knock?"
"My house," Jimmy said, unfazed. "More than yours, since you moved out. Have it started yet?"
"Commercials," Steve supplied, shifting, and picking up some of the newspapers from the floor, dumping them onto the coffee table.
"Oh, good. Time to make popcorn," Jimmy grinned, and looked at Babs pointedly. "Come on, you'll help me."
She gave him a questioning look, but stood up to follow, leaving Steve to pick up the rest of the papers and paper scraps. "What is it?" she asked Jimmy, crossing her arms and leaning against the fridge.
"You and Steve, back on?" he asked matter-of-factly, and she glared briefly.
"Need to know if I'm supposed to be nice to him," Jimmy said wryly, then looked at her seriously. "You sure you know what you're doing? I'm unqualified for the protective brother routine, but I can always ask Bruce to beat him up. No one would find any evidence, too."
She felt the corner of her mouth twitch, even though she was trying not to smile. It was actually kind of endearing, as much as Jimmy could be endearing. He generally tended towards annoying. "Yes. It's a good thing," she said, and Jimmy nodded.
"Good. Now, I'll get the popcorn, you get the sodas," he said, turning towards the microwave.
After the conference Jim left the room wordlessly, Bruce following immediately, sending one final glare at the tabloid reporter, the look that said 'I'll remember you', which usually was more effective when it came from Batman, but it seemed to disconcert the man anyway.
Montoya stood in the corridor, grinning widely, a wisecrack already forming on her lips, but she bit it back when she saw Jim's face, and instead muttered 'Well done, commish,' which was acknowledged with a curt nod as Jim passed her by.
"I didn't think he was still..." she said to Bruce, once Jim was far away enough for her to be sure he couldn't hear her.
Bruce shrugged. "Of course he is," he said, dismissing her comforting smile. It was part of who Jim was, his completely inability to let go of anyone and anything he cared about. Bruce still hadn't decided if that was a good or a bad thing, but most of the time, he was somehow glad of it; if there was a chance that Jim would hold on to him with the same fierce determination...
"I'll make sure people don't interrupt the commish for the next hour or so," Renee said after a long moment, and he nodded gratefully, turning to walk to Jim's office.
"Better than expected," Bruce said lightly, closing the doors behind him. "Everyone survived," he added, laying on a great deal of astonished theatrics, and Jim turned his head just slightly in his direction, his gaze not leaving the city behind the window.
"Barely," Jim muttered. "Good thing I listened to your advice and left my gun behind."
"You didn't," Bruce pointed out, and Jim shrugged.
"Then I have more self control than I previously thought," he said bitterly and Bruce stepped closer, with a clear sense of deja vu, putting his arms around Jim. About half an hour since the last time they stood here, and somehow, a lot has changed, while nothing had.
"So," he drawled, unsure whether he was ready to push it or not, but unable to stop the words. "Partner, eh?"
Jim turned, pulling away just enough to look into Bruce's face searchingly, his jaw tightening defensively. "What's wrong with it?" he asked, and Bruce leaned in, breathing out, his forehead resting against Jim's.
"Absolutely nothing," he said quietly, and Jim relaxed into him, the tension melting away slowly. "Jim," he said thoughtfully, bowing his head to whisper against Jim's neck, his lips gently brushing Jim's ear. "Take the rest of the day off."
"I can't..." Jim said, predictably, and Bruce proceeded to kiss him until the protests died out. It was low, he would admit that, but it was also effective.
"Yes, you can. There's nothing pressing, and your department can manage without you quite well, you made sure of that. It's one afternoon," he added, going for the additional incentive of running his finger down Jim's neck, loosening his collar, fingernail scratching the skin. "We could stop by the mansion, find something to do while Alfred prepares dinner," he let his voice drop a little, just to leave no doubts as to what that 'something' might be. "And then we could take Alfred back home and have a family dinner."
Jim looked up sharply, something yet unreadable in his expression, then made a show of sighing. "If I say no, you'll just kidnap me and go with the plan anyway, won't you?"
"I'll get away with it, too," Bruce said, nodding cheerfully, getting a long awaited smile from Jim.