Pairing: Jim/Bruce, possibly others
Rating: PG-13 for now.
Word count: 1224
"Sometimes the only thought that keeps me from retiring is that there's a great chance Montoya would be my replacement," Jim grumbled, and Bruce laughed.
"I take it the meeting with the Mayor was somehow tiring?"
Jim shrugged. "I'm quite used to having her annoyed with me, and berating me for something, usually not attending a function. Supportive approach is certainly a new and just slightly disturbing one."
"I feel your pain," Bruce nodded in mock sympathy, getting an exasperated look in return. They both were quite aware that Grange's support was valuable in this case, but logic never stopped Jim from complaining before, and it didn't look like it would now. "That's not the only thing that has you worried, though," he muttered, growing serious, and Jim nodded, pushing a folder his way. He flicked through it, grimacing.
"Montoya doesn't think it's the Joker, but..." Jim shrugged, standing up, pushing his chair away a little forcefully, metal scratching the floor.
"Better safe than sorry," Bruce agreed, stepping around the desk, just as Jim leaned against the windowframe, looking out. He moved to stand behind Jim, arms sneaking around his waist, resting his chin on Jim's shoulder. Before now, he wouldn't have allowed himself this while still in Jim's office, with the doors opened and some of the senior detectives cultivating a habit of coming in without knocking. There were at least some advantages to the situation. "Jim," he started quietly, and felt Jim shake his head, his cheek against Bruce's.
"I probably would have overreacted even more," he admitted. "Also, this is nice," he muttered, echoing Bruce's thoughts, and for a long moment they just stood there, their bodies pressed closely together and relaxed, the shared silence comforting.
Bruce nodded, reluctantly pulling away. "How about we get it over with? The sooner we start, the sooner I can watch it with popcorn and mock you relentlessly."
"It's good that at least one of us finds it funny," Jim said, but there was no real annoyance in his voice. "Unfortunately, I don't think you're the only one recording it for the future entertainment. All I can hope for is Montoya not putting it up on youtube."
"You're delusional if you think it won't hit the net before we even get back home."
"With your driving?" Jim said, evidently holding back a smile. "I think we have a good chance of making it."
They got downstairs, to the conference room where Julie, the press officer, had set everything up for the conference. She's having some difficulties holding back a smile when she looks at them, Bruce's hand resting just above the small of Jim's back, mostly because he could now. Bruce was quite certain she would coo at them given half the opportunity, and quietly thought he preferred Montoya's teasing approach.
"I limited the number of reporters admitted to those of the major media," she informed Jim. "Figured you would feel better with a smaller crowd."
Jim looked like he wanted to say that there was no way in hell to make him feel better about the entire thing, but he just nodded at Julie, forcing a smile. "Thank you."
It started easy enough; the reporters seemed to respect Jim and didn't go for the easiest, outrageous and baiting kind of questions. It was more than Bruce could hope for during his own meetings with the press, but he had to own it that he usually baited them first, and done enough to provoke the most daring questions. And now he really hoped this wouldn't matter and that he could offer more support than just standing at Jim's side and wonder if holding his hand would be too much.
It started easy enough, Becca from Gotham Tonight asking since when they were together, making a mild crack about hiding the relationship, and Bruce breathed out some of the air he'd been holding. The questions that followed were pretty much predictable, and even Jim seemed to relax just a little bit, until one of the two tabloid reporters Julie let in had apparently done some rather strange math, and wondered whether the affair had started before Barbara's death. For a moment Bruce wasn't sure whether he should be holding on to Jim, keeping him from shooting someone in the presence of at least a dozen cameras, some possibly reporting live, or whether he should simply strangle the reporter.
Even with the cameras, he should be able to get out of it easily; there were some things, or rather most of things, that Bruce Wayne could be forgiven and explained. It was almost depressing, when you thought about it.
Jim's fists were clenched to the point where it must have been painful, nails leaving angry red marks etched into his palms, but all he did was hold the reporter's gaze and offer an unflinching "No." It's straightforward and honest and just a little bit painful, because even now, Jim's still grieving and it's plain to see in his face.
There was a long silence after that, no one quite knowing what to say, and Bruce thought that, in a room full of journalists, that must have been a first.
"So, are you planning to have a commitment ceremony any time soon?" Becca asked, and Bruce gratefully made a mental note of agreeing to do any interviews she asks for from now on.
The rest of the questions that followed were almost dull, once everyone realised there was no scandal, and that beyond a suddenly domesticated playboy there was little to fill up the front page. But Bruce still held his breath when Frank from Gotham Times asked his final question, ready to close his notepad, inquiring what was the official status and the right word to use in the article. "Would 'boyfriend' be fine with you, commissioner?" he asked, much to everyone's amusement, and Bruce added another mental note, to shun Frank and his paper whenever possible. It was fine for Bruce to make fun of this, yes, but no one else was allowed. Well, apart from maybe Montoya, because she had earned herself the privilege a long time ago, through saving his and Jim's life on occasion.
Besides, this was a question he wanted to ask for a while now, and Frank getting to ask it first was really grating on his nerves.
And then Jim hesitated before shrugging and saying he didn't really like discussing semantics, and Bruce closed his eyes briefly. This shouldn't be a question asked here and now, and he was pretty damn certain Jim was going to deflect and change the subject.
"'Partner' is the one I can think of," Jim said, quietly, and the softness in his voice hinted at the hidden layer. This wasn't only the answer to the posed question, this was the moment Jim wished for when he hoped to admit working with Batman some day, the closest to full disclosure they'll ever come to.
Maybe Bruce wasn't the only one glad of coming clean of even this one secret.