Rating: PG-13 for now.
Word count: 1360 for this part.
Jim holds his breath for a moment, as Babs moves to stand by the bed, biting her lower lip nervously. Bruce looks up at her, waiting, his fingers tightening on Jim's hand to the point where it's actually painful.
There's not many things that have Bruce scared, Jim knows, but there's a real fear in his eyes now, and Jim supposes it might be mirrored in his. It's their own damn fault, true, telling the kids was always something they intended to do, at some point, in the future, someday. They hadn't prepared for this, hadn't chosen the right words and phrases.
Babs opens her mouth, but no sounds comes out, and she shakes her head, then, as if on impulse, sits down on the bed, leans forward, placing her arms carefully, tentatively, on Bruce's sides, a gentle hug, mindful of the injuries.
The fear and worry on Bruce's face changes into surprise, and then it looks as if he didn't know whether he wants to smile or blink back the incoming tears, which is something Jim had never seen before. When teased about it, much later when the teasing will be safe and welcome, Bruce will probably deny the entire scene, and blame the meds. Now he just leans his head down, kissing the top of Babs' head, reaching out to hold her.
"Barbara?" Jim asks quietly, and she nods, her hair falling around her in waves, then looks up, smiling sheepishly.
"I'm fine," she says, and he had never been so proud of her as now, when she shifts carefully, looking at Bruce searchingly, to make sure the hug didn't hurt him in any way, then smiles slightly. "You're okay?"
"Never better," Bruce says, wide smile and theatrical overstatement, but then grows more serious. "Sorry for ruining the dance night."
Babs shrugs, and Jim can tell she's putting up a brave front over her disappointment, but her smile is close to an honest one. "There will be other dances. Without the 'Under the Sea' theme, hopefully," she makes a point of shuddering. "And Steve will understand..." she hesitates, then shrugs again, with greater panache. "Because if he doesn't, he wasn't worth it anyway," he voice wavers just a little, and Bruce nods, reaching out to touch her cheek.
"I don't think there is a guy who really deserves you, you know?" he asks, and Jim is about to agree, when his cellphone rings and he excuses himself, answering Montoya's questions about whether Batman managed to get to safety, as the searching team hadn't found anyone inside the half-collapsed building. She sounds tired, and Jim orders her to go home and get some rest, and she lies to him that of course she would. He doesn't think he had any moral ground to stand on in preaching to other people about workaholism, but he at least goes home every afternoon. Nowadays.
When he gets back to the bedroom, Bruce has scooted over on the bed, and Babs is sitting next to him, on his good side, legs curled underneath her. "You know the bat-shaped thingies?" she's asking, and Jim snorts.
"Which bat-shaped things?" he asks pointedly, earning himself a glare from Bruce, which he promptly ignores. It's not his fault that Bruce is incredibly unimaginative when it comes to design.
"The ones to throw. Can you teach me how to throw them?" she asks excitedly, and Jim rolls his eyes now. He had expected this kind of reaction from Jimmy, not Babs, but then again, she's the one who always surprises him.
"Absolutely not," he says, before Bruce has the chance to answer, and the looks he get tell him he was right to react quickly. Bruce has serious problems with saying no to anything the kids want. They will have to work on that, honestly.
Babs shrugs, as if she knew that too, and knew that Bruce is going to give in, but lets it drop for now. "Are you going to tell Jimmy?" she asks seriously, and Jim looks at Bruce before nodding reluctantly.
"Yes, soon." He's not looking forward to that conversation, there's a good reason why they put off telling them for as long as they could.
He moves to again sit at the chair by the bed, and Babs gives him a searching look, before reluctantly straightening, shifting to stand up. She makes a point of reaching for her cellphone, holding it up like an explanation. "I gotta call Sophie, see how the dance is going. And then I think I'll spend some time bothering Alfred," she ads with a pointed smile, and honestly, at some point she got really too smart for Jim's taste.
"You have one hell of a daughter," Bruce says quietly once the doors close after her, and Jim smiles, nodding.
"I know," he agrees, then moves to sit on the bed, in the place vacated by Babs, taking a moment to investigate the largest injury, the one on Bruce's shoulder. "It's not that bad," he says, pleased, and Bruce shrugs.
"The worst part was the concussion. Don't worry," he adds at Jim's look. "Alfred took all the precautions. But if you want to stay over and make sure I don't fall asleep, you're most welcomed."
Jim laughs, leaning in to kiss him gently. "Nice try," he says dryly, but he's smiling. It looks like everything is going to be just fine.
Honestly, Jimmy doesn't think he should be leaving home, like, ever, because he's away for two days, and things like that happen. And he's not even counting the car accident Bruce apparently got himself into, no. Mostly, he means his crazy sister.
She had been obsessing over Steve for the last few months, and then she doesn't go to the dance, and doesn't whine about it. Jimmy wouldn't have even known about it, if Dad hadn't asked if Steve called, and upon hearing the negative answer, said he was sorry. Since when? Because the last time, there were threats of shooting Steve, which, admittedly, was something Jimmy considered an interesting concept.
But the worst, or the best, or the strangest, part, is when the evening news come up, and they mention some explosion from the day before, and wonder whether the blurry black spot on the footage from the ATM camera from across the street was actually Batman or not.
"You think it was him?" Jimmy asks Dad, and before he can answer, Babs shrugs.
"Even if it was, he's Batman. He's fine, don't worry."
Jimmy looks at her in puzzlement. "Hey, you look like my sister, but the words you're saying are confusing."
She punches his shoulder lightly, rolling her eyes. "Fine, dork, you were right about Batman. He's not that bad."
"Dad, did she just say I was right about something?" he asks loudly, and Dad doesn't answer, just glances at Babs quickly, smiling. "Hey, Babs, can you repeat that?" Jimmy asks pleasantly, and she's about to punch his shoulder again, when her cellphone produces that stupid ringtone, and she's out of her seat in a nanosecond, almost running to the kitchen to answer in some privacy. Please, as if the sound didn't carry to the living room.
"Oh, hey, Steve. No, it's fine now. Yes. I don't know, why? Sure, why not. I'll see you there." She walks back into the room, and nods at Dad. "Hey, I'm off for a few hours. We're going for a pizza, so I won't be eating dinner."
And another surprise, Dad nods and doesn't even grimace much. "Back at nine," he only says. "It's a school night."
Jimmy really wishes that Bruce could be here, with everyone acting strangely, he feels outnumbered in his sanity. At least there's Biscuit, he muses, patting the dog's head.