Pairing, Characters: Jim/Bruce (eventually), Montoya, Stephens and Bullock.
Rating: PG for now, will go higher.
Worcount: 2120 for this part
A/N: Yeah, so I might have started another multi-part story. Because I need this like I need a hole in my head. I blame Montoya, this time (blaming fictional characters is how I roll).
Renee Montoya has met Batman only twice, and each time it was in the comforting presence of Jim Gordon. Of course, in any case, if one subscribed to the notion that Batman was a psychotic killer, even the presence of the police commissioner wouldn't help much, but she felt better for it anyway.
The first of these times was not long after the hunt started, and every cop in the city was looking into the shadows, ready to shoot given the slightest opportunity. Two streets away from the crime scene, she hadn't yet figured out whether Gordon allowed her to follow him on purpose, but at the time they've all been almost too protective of the commissioner, the Bat targeting his family and the death of commissioner Loeb still fresh in their memory.
Something swooped from above, dark and shapeless, and she had her gun out before her mind could kick start itself.
"Detective," Gordon said warningly, reaching out and lowering her hand gently, just the slight tension in his voice but no fear or worry that she expected to find there. His back was to the newcomer, trustingly, and the Bat hadn't moved at all, gaze steady and assessing. She considered for the first time that maybe there was some truth in Stephens' muttering that something wasn't right with all that hunt on Batman thing, that Jim wasn't sufficiently angry when he took the axe to the sign. But Stephens was always coming up with theories, and usually she just dismissed them.
"Same MO," Batman said, as if she hadn't pointed a gun at him, as if she wasn't even there. Or maybe as if she was invited to the conversation, which was even more surreal. "Have you got the letter about it?"
Gordon nodded. "Same as the others. Damn riddles and games. I'm tired of games," he added wryly, his tone surprisingly light. He dug into his jacket's inner pocket, fishing out an evidence bag with an envelope inside, made two steps into the shadows.
Montoya tensed, fingers wrapped around the gun itching closer to the trigger even though she hadn't raised the piece yet. The Bat reached out, slowly, as if not to spook Gordon, but it was more for her benefit than anyone else's, as commish was completely relaxed now, placing the evidence in the vigilante's hand. She almost protested at that, it didn't seem right, but she bit her tongue. If she trusted anyone, she trusted Jim Gordon, and maybe that was why she was allowed to be here, to witness this.
"I need it back on my desk in about two hours," Gordon said with a slight nod of his head as the envelope disappeared somewhere in the shadowed planes of Batman's suit.
"Of course. I'll let you know what I find out," the Bat said, taking one step back, half disappearing in the shadows but still visible if you looked really hard. "Detective," he added, the slightest gesture in Montoya's direction, and her jaw dropped just a little. Before she could find the words to respond, he was gone completely, melting into the darkness seamlessly.
"I hate when he does that," Gordon said, but there was no annoyance behind the words, she could swear there was fondness instead.
"Why am I here?" she asked, and he spun on his heel to look at her.
"Official policy is to arrest Batman on sight," he told her in a well practiced, official tone. He was, quite possibly, one of the worst liars she had ever seen, she had no idea how he managed to have everyone buying into the story of Batman killing all those people. Her included. It was downright embarrassing.
"But?" she prompted, placing her gun back in her holster. He smiled, as is she had passed some sort of a test, with pleasure and pride, and she couldn't help but smile back.
"People need to know. I can't be the only one, in case..." he shrugged, dismissing the grim realities she was well aware of. "Come on, Detective, time to rejoin the others on the crime scene."
She hadn't asked anything more, not then, but she looked into the shadows with a little more hope now. She wasn't the only one, Stephens cornered her a week later, in the rec room, asking if she knew.
"If I know what?" she asked, putting on a good show of surprised innocence, but fooling Gerry was always more difficult than fooling anyone else at the precinct, he had a fully functional bullshit detector. Turned out that Stephens got a similar bat introduction, and so had Bullock. She couldn't help but feel proud that she was one of those few whom Gordon trusted with this knowledge. She had no idea what was the purpose, really, but it still made her feel good.
Second time she met the Bat was just a few months ago, a little less officially.
The DNA results had finally came in, and Gordon requested to be notified the second they did, and she rushed to his office with the printouts, disregarding knocking as a time consuming process.
Upon seeing the Batman, she froze in the doorway, startled, holding up the files defensively. Gordon rolled his eyes at her, told her to shut the door and pick up her jaw from the floor, and she could have sworn she heard Batman snort at that. Either that, or sleep deprivation after slaving over this case for the last week had finally caught up with her. Next thing, she'll be seeing spiders. Bats were preferable, if you asked her.
"Detective," he said politely, and she almost followed Gordon in eyerolling. Was that the only word he knew?
"What is it, Montoya?" Gordon asked, and she stepped forward, making her way to the desk, pointedly ignoring the Bat. On one hand, it wasn't that difficult as he seemed to mesh with the background. On the other hand, Batman, so there was absolutely no way she could feel comfortable and relaxed. As Gordon seemed to be. Uncanny.
"The results are back, sir," she said smartly, handing them over, refusing to turn her head no matter how curious she was. Batman stood completely still while Gordon looked at the results and grimaced, taking off his glasses and pinching the bridge of his nose, disappointed.
"Thank you, Detective," he told her flatly, and she nodded, forcing a smile. He pushed his glasses back on, and gave her a searching look. "Hasn't your shift ended half an hour ago? Go home, Montoya, get some rest."
Concern is all nice and fine, she thought, and it was actually quite heartwarming coming from Gordon, but it was also a case of pot calling kettle black. "When did your shift end, sir?" she asked pointedly, and flashed him an unapologetic grin before she hightailed it from there under his glare.
"She's got a point, Jim," a rasp followed her out, low and concerned, and she hadn't caught commish's response, doors clicking shut behind her, but she felt a little bit better, and not only because Batman apparently agreed with her (wait till she tells Stephens), but that someone else was looking out for the commissioner.
But that was a few months ago, and it hadn't done a lot of good, from where she was standing.
And where she was standing, at the very moment, was on the roof of the MCU building, while Bullock wrestled with the stylized bat-shape, trying to fix it into the repaired light.
"Just stick it on," Stephens muttered impatiently. "Doesn't have to be perfect. The first one was a mob boss, for god's sake."
Renee would have smiled at that, normally, but this wasn't a good moment to be cheerful. They had a job to do, and it was something that could easily have them not only fired but possibly arrested. Gordon wouldn't let that happen, of course, but Gordon was still in the hospital, and the doctors didn't sound very optimistic.
"You think he'll show up?" she asked, wrapping her coat tighter around herself, shivering from the cold winter air.
"Last time he didn't," Gerry pointed out, as Bullock flipped the switch, letting the light shine. Last time, of course, Gordon was dead, or, well, presumed to be. It didn't seem like a good tradition to continue, but none of them had any better ideas.
"Done," Bullock announced, stepping away from the light. "For the record, if we get in trouble for this, I'm saying you two used force to make me do this."
"Especially Renee. Everyone will believe you, Harvey," Stephens smirked, and Renee turned to give him a look.
"Please. I so could kick his ass without even..." she paused, because the shadows by the fire exit seemed to be moving.
"Without even what?" Bullock prompted, then frowned and followed her gaze, turning around. It was slightly amusing to see him startle. "You know, I should have bet on him showing up," he told Stephens, not even bothering to lower his voice. Batman waited semi-patiently, although he didn't seem amused at all.
"You better turn that off," he said, indicating the light, and Renee wordlessly flipped it off. "Detectives," he added, just the slightest rise in his growl indicating it was a question.
Montoya felt Stephens giving her a slight push and almost rolled her eyes at him. Bullock waited silently, squinting at her. Wusses, both of them.
"We wanted..." she started and stopped, her voice shaking just a little. Being afraid or nervous was slightly stupid. Sure, the bat costume was supposed to be scary or whatnot, but he was also supposed to be their ally. If they believed the commissioner. Which they did. Of course, officially, commish had an entire team assembled to hunt the Bat for a spree of murders and for taking his family hostage, but... Not helping.
"I think you know that..." Stephens said, obviously trying to help, but his words disappeared into a shrug almost as fast as Montoya's had.
"I'm working on it," Batman offered finally, an impatient growl of a voice as he glanced away from them, towards the fixed light. He looked almost wistful, as much as you could tell under the mask, and through the shadows surrounding it. Well, fine, you couldn't tell very well, but Montoya considered herself damn good at reading people, and there was a wistful air around him, so there.
"How do you know what we wanted to talk about?" Bullock asked slowly.
There was a long moment before the Bat answered, long enough that Montoya thought he wasn't going to. "You're Gordon's people," was all he said, as if it was an answer.
And it probably was, too, succinct and true. They needed him because commish wasn't here, and they trusted him because Gordon did. But there was more, plain in Batman's voice, even under the gravely tones. He trusted them too, and only because Gordon did.
Everyone knew that commissioner worked closely with the bat before and during Joker's manic spree, and all three of them knew that this continued after. But only now did Montoya wonder how deep the trust went, how well they really knew each other. She briefly entertained the thought that Gordon actually knew the man behind the mask, but that was bordering on impossible. And yet... And yet, just as she could sense the wistfulness, she could see the worry and anxiety. And to come to a meeting that could easily be a trap, to the roof of the police building, that wasn't being worried about an ally, that was concern for a friend.
"You'll let us know, right?" she asked, looking up at the Bat. "If you find out what's..." she didn't finish that one, reluctant to say what they've been afraid of, that the poison could actually kill commish.
"When I find out," the Bat agreed, quiet and intense, and she must have blinked or something, because one moment she could see it and the next he was gone.
"It's creepy when he does that," Stephens muttered, rubbing his hands nervously, trying to warm them up.
"Commish hates it," Montoya told them, a small smile playing on her lips. They shared a silent understanding before they moved to get back inside, feeling just that little bit better but still not at peace.