Jim never had much of a chance to see Rachel in courtroom, in action. For the last few years his supervisors didn’t think he was a good choice for giving testimony, and the prosecutors didn’t think he was presentable enough to get the jury’s approval, so his presence at court was scarce at best. And while those things changed recently, Rachel herself had been keeping to the sidelines, letting Harvey take the reins of most of the cases, to shine in the spotlight and aide his campaign.
But dear god, she was good.
“Woah, awesome,” was what Montoya said, grinning at the glass divide between them and the interrogation room. “And straight and engaged,” she added with a sigh and a sideway glance at Harvey. “The story of my life.”
“Sorry, detective,” Harvey smirked slightly and turned his attention back to his fiancée and Lau.
It was just a tad curious; it wasn’t that Montoya was particularly deep in the closet, partly because of her rather open nature and partly because, unlike some, her life wasn’t of much interest to the press and all Gothamites alike.
But still, the fact that she openly shared that one with Harvey, even in a joking manner, said that she felt comfortable with him, so maybe Jim should start and relax too. Even if he still didn’t like sharing Bruce’s secret identity with anyone, not if he could help it.
“Got it,” Harvey said at something Lau mentioned, as Rachel was making her way into the room. “RICO. If their money was pooled, we can charge all of them as one criminal conspiracy.”
Jim gave him a long look. “Charge them with what?”
“In a RICO case if we can charge any of the conspirators with a felony…” his voice caught and Rachel smiled winningly.
“We can charge all of them. That’s brilliant,” she grinned and went back to the interrogation.
“We can’t leave Lau at the County,” Montoya volunteered quietly. “He’ll be dead before he can testify, before he can blink, even.”
“We can keep him here.”
Harvey nodded. “I don’t know if any place is even remotely safe, but…”
“Safer than anywhere else,” Jim pointed out.
Even apart from the absence of other criminals and the fact that he could trust his people; there were much better chances Batman could get here on time if needed, as Bruce’s paranoia ensured he had the place watched 24/7. Which sometimes did come in handy.
There were reporters everywhere, of course, as they moved on Maroni’s favourite restaurant. Outside the precinct, and then two news vans followed the squad cars.
Jim hated that part of the job; that wasn’t a secret. In fact, his dislike had been rather well-known and occasionally made fun of. But even the presence of all the journalists didn’t spoil the feeling of finally taking in Maroni and Chechen and the others. It might not last, but they had a fighting chance now, and that was something.
“Would you say it’s a great victory for the new unit, Lieutenant?” Vicki Vale asked, her smile blinding and indulging. Rachel had been right, Jim didn’t actively hate Vicki Vale, but that didn’t stop him from finding her as annoying as she was actually good.
“It’s been active for over a year, it’s not exactly a new unit, Miss Vale,” he told her politely and she inclined her head, a sign of recognition and an invitation for a game.
“My bad. So, who would was the architect of this major triumph? Lieutenant Jim Gordon or DA Harvey Dent?”
Jim raised his eyebrows at her and she sighed.
“Come on, Lieutenant, I just need a good quote from you and I’ll let you go for today, what do you say?”
This was why he actually didn’t actively hate her; she knew when to quit. He could deal with that. “The MCU is grateful for the DA’s help in apprehending the city’s major crime leaders; we hope the evidence gathered and the testimony of witnesses will ensure just convictions.”
She clicked her recorder off. “See, was it so hard, Gordon?”
“Have a nice day, Miss Vale,” he smiled slightly and she laughed, wandering off, presumably to find someone else to bother.
And that was only the beginning of a rather tiresome day. He had no idea how on earth did Dent convince Surillo to hear the case; but he pulled it off, annoying Garcia to no end while also impressing the hell out of him. Jim wasn’t there for the entire meeting, and that was probably for the better.
What he was there for, as he and Loeb made their way downstairs the city hall, was to see a dark figure swing from the rooftop and hang right outside Garcia’s window; a figure too familiar for comfort.
It seemed like a bad dream. By now, Jim could recognize Bruce’s suit on sight, even from that distance and especially in broad daylight, and this wasn’t Batman’s Kevlar armor. But it was close enough to fool many, and for a few short terrifying seconds it was close enough to fool Jim, too.
For a moment there, he thought this was the half-consciously expected heart attack coming, as he froze under the sudden surge of pain and fear.
As they lowered the body, he still couldn’t breathe quite properly, not until Montoya reached to gently ease the mask out, not until he was completely certain.
Few seconds later his cellphone was ringing; apparently the news reached Bruce quickly, due to the journalists who for once proved useful.
“It’s me,” Bruce said quietly and Jim laughed, a bit hysterically, opening his car’s doors and sitting down, because his legs threatened to give in underneath him.
“No, it’s not,” he muttered, voice coarse and rough around the lump in his throat.
Bruce was silent for a long moment, but his breathing was comforting enough. “Come by as soon as you can.”
He left Montoya in charge of the scene and called Stephens to make his way there and take over as soon as he could, and then he drove to the penthouse as fast as possible, breaking at least a few traffic regulations.
“He’s in the bedroom,” Alfred told him and moved aside, clearly not expecting any response as Jim hurried in the given direction.
He fumbled at the doors, trying to get his breathing under control, trying not to burst in and say any foolish thing that came to mind, but once he went in there was only one possible course of action.
Bruce groaned under the force of impact, muttering something against Jim’s lips that Jim didn’t even care to try and understand.
“You’re never going out in the night ever again, you’re staying right here,” he muttered right back, not caring how insane the concept was. Instead, he worked out the knot of Bruce’s bow-tie, easing it out and discarding it to the floor.
Right then, it was enough to pull Bruce closer, a little bit too fast and too hard, losing balance and even Bruce, with his almost superhuman grace, gave in and let them both tumble to the floor.
“Never could prove to be problematic,” Bruce whispered against Jim’s skin, right against the pulse point on his neck; Bruce’s warm breath calming down the frantic beat.
“I don’t care.”
He kissed Bruce once more, waiting for their breathing to calm down, steady and quiet. Slowly, the sense of their surroundings returned, and the realization of where they were and that the strap of silk on the floor next to them was a bow-tie, not one of Bruce’s regular, everyday ties.
“How long till the party?” Jim asked, sighing.
“Guests should arrive any minute now. Which, yes, means that you have no excuse not to stay and at least give the groom your best wishes.”
“Isn’t it best wishes to the bride, congratulations to the groom?” Jim asked suspiciously, waiting for the inevitable punchline.
“Yeah, you’d think. But mostly, I think it’s good luck to both of them, try not to kill yourself.”
“I see you’ve been working on that toast of yours.”
“Of course. Rachel asked me to be her bride’s maid.”
“No, she didn’t.”
“No, she didn’t,” Bruce agreed. “However, if she has any good sense, she will. I throw one hell of a bridal shower and I’m sure I’d look splendid in a peach taffeta dress.”
“Dear god,” Jim muttered, shaking his head. “The worst part is, I believe in both of your claims and that’s a terrifying thing,” he added, tentatively running his fingers along the side of Bruce’s jaw. “Fine, I’ll stay for a few minutes, but if you rope me into any kind of small talk with anyone I dislike, there will be consequences later.”
“I’m really counting on that,” Bruce smiled winningly. “And I do like the way you react to my dates, too.”
“Dates, as in plural? You’re really insisting on giving the tabloids some good fodder for the headlines, aren’t you?” he said lightly, but there really was little point of hiding his displeasure from Bruce; the man could read him like an open book.
“Your moustache moves in interesting ways when you’re angry,” Bruce offered, his lips close enough to Jim’s ear he could feel Bruce’s breath on his neck.
“I’m not angry.”
“Just disappointed,” Bruce guessed. “And terribly jealous.”
Jim shrugged. “That too,” he admitted freely. He understood the need for the persona; it wasn’t one he would choose if the choice was his, but it wasn’t. And even if he disliked it heartily, it was something he could guiltlessly admit to. Unlike other things, unlike his unwillingness to share Bruce with the city, to have him risk his life again and again. He understood that as well, and he probably loved Bruce more for it, but there were times when the point was driven home – it was dangerous and one day, the city would claim Bruce’s life.
Sometimes, on the good days, he thought it could be avoided, but the good days were usually outweighed by the realistic ones.
“You’re thinking too much again, Jim,” Bruce muttered, pulling them both up.
As if he was the one to talk, with his plans and backup scenarios and an actually certified genius IQ. But Jim didn’t point that out, pointing things out led to arguments they didn’t have time to resolve in any kind of pleasant manner. “It’s a tough habit to break,” he said instead.
“So it is,” Bruce agreed softly and then stepped back a little, measuring Jim up critically. “Now, it’s time to dress you up properly.”
Jim rolled his eyes. “I don’t know if you realized, but I’ve been dressing myself since before you were born.”
“It’s nice to know you’re no longer freaked out by the age difference. And also, I know and that’s the whole problem; your taste in ties and shirts is abysmal and most of your clothes should be burned down and your closet purged.”
“You’re hanging around Montoya too much if you think that’s a pun I would stoop to make. Now, the important thing, your tie.”
“It’s the one I’m wearing, and before you say anything, I’m drawing a line at borrowing yours.”
Bruce smiled slowly, in a way Jim didn’t like; suspicion creeping in. “I’m afraid, lieutenant, you’re not going to have a choice,” he said pleasantly, swiftly undoing the knot of the tie in question and easing it off with a swoosh of material. Jim reached for it, but he didn’t have the training-honed reflexes of a damn ninja, and kept it out of reach.
And then there was flash of something else altogether, when Bruce picked up a silver lighter from someplace and flicked his thumb, setting the tie on fire.
Jim stared, unimpressed. “I liked that tie.”
“I’ll pay you back. How much would that be, a dollar?”
The material smelled something foul as it burned, possibly verifying Bruce’s statement about the price. So, Jim didn’t bother to spend all of his wages on clothes, that was supposed to be a good thing in this economy, wasn’t it?
“Put it down, or you’ll set off your impressive smoke detecting system,” Jim muttered, much to Bruce’s amusement. “Fine, have it your way and give me that blasted tie.”
“And a new shirt,” Bruce added, then raised his hand before Jim could protest. “Don’t make me burn the one you’re wearing.”
“That’s going to be your shtick now?” Jim shook his head. “I don’t think your shirt would fit me well,” he muttered, having that creeping feeling that Bruce actually did think of that. “You planned this, didn’t you?”
“Months ago, was just waiting for the right occasion,” he beamed, opening one side of the giant closet space. “Here,” he said, pressing a hanger with a suit into Jim’s hands.
Jim inspected it with a frown, running his fingers across the material. “I don’t think so,” he said, mostly because some sort of protesting made him feel better about the whole thing. He was going to cave in in a moment, he knew that, but going down without a fight wasn’t in Jim Gordon’s style.
Bruce laughed. “You know, it should be comforting that your secret relationship is safe; no one would ever think you a gay man, Jim.”
“Not everyone is a walking cliché.”
“In this town?” Bruce said doubtfully and pointedly. “Besides, says the cop with a caffeine addiction and bad ties. Honestly.”
Jim had a really good retort, or he would have one in a few seconds, but Alfred knocked on the doors gently and opened them a tad. “I’m sorry, Master Wayne, but the first guests are arriving,” he said pointedly and Bruce sighed.
“Duty calls. Shirt, suit, tie. Or I won’t be responsible for any kind of accidental fires that may occur tonight.”
“The press would be delighted in your following your last birthday bash and setting a new precedence for arsonist multibillionaires,” Jim offered dryly, the last part of his sentence directed at the closing doors.
He gave the suit a resigned look and sighed heavily, starting to unbutton his shirt.
At least it wasn’t a tux. He hated tuxes.
He saw Rachel the moment he walked into the main area. The room was glistening with lights and full of hushed voices. She stood by the balcony, a frown on her face as she talked to her fiance, and Harvey looked for all the world as if he was hiding behind her. At least someone else wasn’t exactly comfortable.
Jim started to make his way towards them, and somehow managed not to be intercepted by at least three people trying; sadly, he knew quite a few people gathered, from the DA’s office, from the city council, and from the Mayor’s offices. Thankfully, he was able to beg off from any uncomfortable small talk by saying that he first wanted to pay his respects to the happy couple.
“He got to you finally, didn’t he?” Rachel asked, laughing and kissing his cheek as she run her index finger down his lapel. “
“I take it’s punishment for my sins,” Jim muttered, shaking Harvey’s hand. Dent looked downright uncomfortable. “You know, one would think it was a shotgun wedding, looking at you.”
Harvey rolled his eyes, which was actually an improvement over the panicked expression he bore moments ago. “When Bruce said ‘a small engagement party’ I thought it meant, you know, small.”
Rachel laughed gleefully, as if she just heard an excellent joke. She probably had, Jim had to admit. “Nothing is small in Bruce Wayne’s world,” she said, and then, damn her, winked at Jim.
“I won’t comment on the matter,” he told her dryly. “And I’d advise you cutting down on the champagne.”
She smiled slyly at him. “I’ll take it under advisement. Now, I’m going to mingle, one of us has to be sociable. You boys stand here and pretend you’re talking about work, and that’s why the long faces,” she told them and moved away, her skirt twirling around her. Jim’s gaze followed her, then swept around the room, staying on Bruce for just enough time to gather that yes, he wasn’t actually enjoying himself either, but was putting up a much better front than Jim ever could, his arms around two pretty young women in short spring dresses that showed off miles of legs.
“I’m actually impressed with how well you’re taking this,” Harvey said and Jim shrugged.
“I usually don’t attend the parties. That part helps.”
“I don’t mean the parties. I mean Bruce and, well,” Harvey shrugged right back and with a wave of his wrist indicated Bruce and his probably-models-or-actresses companions.
And there was that; as Harvey learned about their relationship it was difficult to explain to him why the whole masquerade was necessary.
‘Jim just doesn’t like the press’ attention,’ Rachel had explained breezily at the time, but this story was going to only hold up for a while, and Harvey was a smart guy. All the more reasons to let him in on the secret. Which Jim still didn’t like, but could see the advantages of.
“Keeps the press happy and I enjoy the relative calm of not having my love life aired in the tabloids,” Jim said evasively, cringing mentally at the way Harvey tilted his head at the ‘love’ part of the remark. Thankfully, his cellphone ringing saved him from any other questions and, also very fortunately, from having to listen to Bruce’s toast – that was going to be a trainwreck of epic proportions.
“I am actually for once glad to hear your voice,” he informed Montoya and she chuckled, before audibly growing serious.
“We have the DNA from the card back. It’s actually a mix of different donors, the CSU was pleased with themselves for figuring it out.”
“Any matches in the system?” It sounded too easy, to be honest.
“Yeah, all three. And you’re not going to like it, boss.”
“When was the last time I liked anything that we came across?” he asked tiredly.
“Point. Well, the DNA belongs to commissioner Loeb, judge Surillo, and Harvey Dent.”
“Shit,” Jim muttered. “He’s telling us who he’s targeting next. Send people to Surillo and Loeb. He won’t let us take him in for protection, but Surillo might. And Loeb’s going to need security detail.”
“What about Dent?”
Jim glanced at Harvey, who currently was putting on a slightly fake smile to thank Bruce for his kind and certainly inappropriate wishes as Rachel was trying not to laugh too much. “He’s here at Bruce’s party. Send detail, too, and for Rachel Dawes’ as well, just in case.”
“Sure thing boss. So, party? Bruce roped you into it?”
“That would be all, Renee, keep me posted,” Jim muttered and disconnected. He looked around, trying to find Bruce, who easily caught his eye and nodded. Apparently he could follow Jim’s conversation from across the room. Jim always wondered if lip-reading had been a part of the whole ninja training or was it something Bruce was naturally good at.
“What is it?” Rachel asked, appearing at his side and Jim bit his lip, thinking.
“There’s been a threat against Harvey. Joker,” he added and her brow furrowed with annoyance. Apparently she wasn’t a fan. “My officers are on their way, don’t worry.”
“I’m not worried,” she lied. “It’s the job.”
“They’re on their way up,” Bruce said quietly, joining them.
“They couldn’t get here so fast,” Jim shook his head as the understanding dawned. “Not the backup.”
“Not as such, no,” Bruce muttered grimly, his voice taking on a familiar dark quality. “Rachel, get Harvey into the bedroom.”
She gave him a weak smile. “Really, Bruce, not the time nor the place for that.” At his look, she just nodded. “I know, I know. How…”
“There’s a panel in the right wall. Don’t leave until we find you.”
“Bruce, are you sure…” she started, quickly catching up on the implications that were just occurring to Jim.
“And the rest of your brilliant plan?” Jim asked Bruce as they watched Rachel go through the motions of giggling as she guided Harvey out. At least this part didn’t cause any raised eyebrows; this was a behavior everyone expected from an engaged couple.
“Wing it,” Bruce shrugged.
“Wing it,” Jim repeated. “Fantastic. At least go and change. After all, I got all dressed up, it’s only fair,” he added. “Don’t worry,” he said at Bruce’s worried look. “I can stall for a few minutes.”
Bruce’s hand briefly closed around his wrist, just a quick reassuring gesture before he stepped away and disappeared; efficient and discreet, something no one would suspect Bruce Wayne of being and therefore no one noticed.