Pairing: Jim/Bruce, Babs/Steve
Word count: 826.
A/N: Last chapter, but not the last of the groundverse. Watch this space ;D. Also, thanks to everyone reading and especially to those commenting, you guys make my day. Special thanks to juana_a for handholding, and to gaudy_night, for all the firsts ;D
It was surprisingly easy to get back into the comfortable rhythm of family dinners at the Gordons', especially as Mr Gordon was too busy shooting down jabs about his conference to spend any time glaring at Steve. And Barbara was holding his hand under the table, that helped too, a lot.
And of course, there was Bruce Wayne discovering the blogosphere.
"Say what you want, but they do have some rather creative ideas," he said cheerfully, reading between bites.
Jimmy nodded sadly. "I think someone should explain fan fiction to Dad, and it's not going to be me."
Barbara made a face, plainly expressing her refusal to be involved in this.
Bruce gave them a slightly wounded look, before looking back at Mr Gordon, his expression growing thoughtful. "On another note, since the cat is out of the bag already, maybe we could think of you moving in to the mansion?" he said, his tone a poor attempt at casual nonchalance.
Alfred snorted and stood up, gathering plates, causing Barbara to scramble to help him, abandoning Steve. Steve had seen enough to know that Alfred is a rather accurate indicator as to when one should be evacuating oneself, preferably to a different country. He threw a worried glance at Jimmy, who sighed long-sufferingly. "I'm going to beat you at Wii tennis," he told Steve, who was so grateful for the excuse to leave the kitchen, he didn't point out the slim chances of that ever happening.
"Don't think so," Mr Gordon was saying, his voice unfortunately carrying through even over the sounds of the game starting. "But I will clean out one drawer for you, if you'd like to move in here."
Jimmy rolled his eyes. "Honestly, sometimes I think Bruce is saying those things just to get a reaction." Steve silently agreed with the assessment, being present at a few other occasions when a comment from Bruce Wayne started a quickly spiraling argument, but he also was of opinion that it would be safer for everyone concerned if those were conducted privately.
"I could deal, but there's no room for Alfred," Bruce argued, to the chorus of "I'd thank you for not dragging me into this," from Alfred, and an extremely amused "He could have my room," from Barbara.
"Just out of curiosity, what does Alfred really do with his days, when Bruce spends most of his time over here?" Steve asked quietly, making sure he wouldn't be heard in the kitchen. Alfred was a warm, wonderful person, but he was also downright scary.
Jimmy shrugged. "For all I know, writes scathing reviews on Television Without Pity," he offered, and served, and they both contemplated the thought for a long moment.
"I won't be able to stop thinking about it," Steve muttered, and Jimmy nodded in sad agreement.
"I don't even know why I say those things," he said.
Barbara emerged from the kitchen, covering her mouth with her hand, caught somewhere between laughter and mortification. "Alfred threw them out of the kitchen, so they're finishing the argument in the garden."
Jimmy looked slightly worried. "I really hope there's no more reporters around. Although, after telling them that no one benefits from being traumatized by all the making out, I kind of hope they'll be caught on tape."
"And watch it online for the whole eternity? I'll pass," Babs said with a wry smile, whisking the Wii control from Jimmy, to his silent protest. "And you just know Bruce would request a copy, and have it up on a big screen somewhere very public, just to see Dad sputtering."
"Speaking, off, it's suspiciously quiet," Steve pointed out, nodding his head in the general direction of the garden. Barbara raised her brow, tilting her head as she listened. Jimmy moved to switch off the game and the tv.
"I vote for getting the hell out of here," he said. "You know how they are after a difficult day," he told Babs, and her answering grimace told Steve everything he didn't want to know. "If we go to the movies, it's three blissful hours without being exposed to mental trauma," Jimmy added, and Steve had to admit he had a good point. "Steve's buying the tickets, since he needs to suck up to your younger brother if he wants to have an easy time joining the family."
Steve was about to protest, when he realised that Jimmy, once again, was kind of right, annoying as it was. There was a small consolation in Barbara smacking her younger brother over the head, laughing.
"I'll tell Dad and Bruce we're going out," she said, stepping out into the garden, and then quickly back again. "I don't think they'll miss us all that much," she muttered, shaking her head.
Steve didn't ask. It seemed safer.