Pairing: Jim/Bruce, eventually.
Rating: PG-13 for now.
Word count: 1553.
If Jim was hoping that the Bat would show up at his apartment, he would be disappointed, so it was a good thing he wasn't hoping at all. Of course he must have known Gordon was back, anyone paying the slightest attention to what was going on in the city knew; Garcia was on every news show, announcing it, but there was absolutely no reason for Batman to care for it at all.
He wasn't sure whom he was trying to fool, he was disappointed, though not surprised.
He was due at work on Monday, so the Sunday was spent unpacking the boxes, the ones that came with him from Philly, and the ones he got out of the storage in Gotham, because apparently he was as incapable of really leaving as Barbara thought him to be.
"You never really left," she said, helping him pack, making sure his shirts were pressed as she folded them carefully. She insisted he had no idea how to do that, and would arrive in Gotham with wrinkled clothes and no iron.
"I tried to," he said pleadingly, and she seemed to understand, nodding as she leaned over and kissed his forehead.
"I love you, you know?" she muttered, matter-of-factly and easily, something he never quite managed to do. "Now, I hope you're taking the plates we got from your mother for the first anniversary. They're even more ugly that I remembered."
"All yours," he shook his head, smiling.
Telling the kids was the worst, of course, but the last two years had been good for them, and they reacted more calmly than he expected. Babs quoted divorce statistics at him, which meant she really shouldn't be allowed free wikipedia reign whenever she wanted, and then added that she was one of the only four kids in her class with two-parents households, and that involved Marissa and her two Moms. Jimmy just asked if Jim was going to be there for his next soccer game, and upon being reassured that yes, he was, nodded seriously.
"You'll tell him," he started after a while, shrugging the rest of his words away, and Jim pulled him in for a hug. "Tell him we didn't forget, Dad," he said.
"I will," he promised.
Which, upon reflection, would be easier to do if he actually saw the Bat at some point.
On Monday, he drove to the City Hall, to be welcomed by a message that Garcia had an opening of a new hospital to attend, and would see him at a later date, which was just as well. He was also greeted by three smiling detectives taking over his office, and he rolled his eyes at them.
"Can't give me a day of respite?" he asked, and Montoya laughed, giving in to an impulse and hugging him briefly.
"Good to have you back, boss," she said, and cheerfully pointed at a fish tank on his desk. "We looked after your fish, fed them, and all."
"These aren't my fish," he pointed out.
"So, we didn't look after your fish," she shrugged. "All Stephens' fault, he really turned your office into a pigsty."
"Did not," Stephens said, before realising he had been conned into arguing like a twelve year old, and glaring at Montoya. "You're welcome to take the office back any time you want, Jim," he added, and Jim shook his head. He had been tempted, but it was Stephens' office now, and Stephens' job at the MCU, and he had to make do with the City Hall glassy fishbowl of an office. He was not used to that many windows. There was no wonder the previous commissioner had been taken out by a sniper.
"Glad you're back, boss," Bullock said with as much of a smile as Bullock ever allowed himself. "Maybe Montoya will stop cheating at poker."
"I do not cheat," she protested, pushing him out of the office none too gently. "You just can't bluff to save your life."
Stephens rolled his eyes, closing the door behind them. "I for one am relieved you're back. You can take over managing the kindergarten."
"How bad is it, really?" he asked, and Stephens shrugged.
"I take it you don't mean the pulling the pigtails routine there," he muttered and sighed. "Not as bad as the press makes it sound. We had a few breaks in dealing with the mob but, of course, the lawyers are still questioning anything that concerns evidence from earlier than two years ago, saying they can't trust anything that might have been brought in by Batman. Unless the chain of custody is airtight, we don't have much luck."
Mostly his fault, Jim knew. "That was to be expected."
"On the brighter side, no masked madmen or city wide panic, apart from that short shtick Nygma pulled off last year, but you know all about that. Also, not sure if you'll like it, but I had to tell Bullock about the Bat, or he would have probably shot him. Long story, I'm sure he can tell you, he's quite proud of catching Batman unaware," he added, causing Jim to wince. "And I think Montoya figured it out, but she hadn't said anything so far."
He nodded, making a mental note to talk to her about it. Of course, getting any relevant and useful information from Montoya was like pulling teeth, only more maddening.
Something was nagging at his thoughts, cold and ugly, and felt a momentary resentment at Bullock and Montoya, and even Stephens. It was ridiculous to the greatest degree, he had been the one who told Stephens, and he had be the one arguing with the Bat that people needed to know, and yet he couldn't help it. Maybe things would improve once he knew for sure that Batman was alright, knew how things stood between them.
"I've seen him last week," Gerry offered, as if reading his thoughts. This was the best and the worst thing about Stephens, he knew Jim too well. "Told him you were coming back."
Jim waited, and finally, upon encountering silence, prompted. "And what did he say?"
Stephens laughed. "Say? You know the guy, he doesn't say anything if he can help it. He had disappeared somewhere before I finished telling him."
Of course he had, that was exactly what he did. Gordon's chest tightened with something that might have been wistfulness. "Thank you, Gerry."
"Not a problem. As the kids said, good to have you back," he nodded and left, closing the door with exaggerated care, giving the glass surface a suspicious look.
The rest of the day had been filled by digging through a mountain of paperwork, too much of it budget related. He called Jimmy and Babs in the evening, like he had promised to do every day, and had a brief conversation with Barbara, chiding him for overworking himself on the first day. He could smile throughout, though, and that was welcomed.
He drove by the MCU on his way home, and made a slightly illegal u-turn at the end of the street, pulling into the parking lot, then walking in, his pulse racing.
"We thought you forgot where we were, boss," Montoya perked up, and he rolled his eyes at her, a familiar exasperation warming him up. He spent some time catching up with those he knew, and being introduced to the new recruits, and finally Montoya took pity and dragged him away, on all pretenses of showing him the new coffee maker, then pressed a coffee cup into his hands and disappeared. Sometimes he thought that hiring her was one of his more inspired decisions.
The rooftop was completely empty. He had expected that, in two years someone was bound to clean out the glass and remove the reflector, but it felt like a punch into the gut somehow. He moved to stand where it used to be, looking down at the patterns it left as it was moved.
"Gordon," Batman said behind him, and Jim moved slowly, trying to will his voice to sound even once he spoke.
"Didn't think you'd come," he lied, because maybe he didn't believe it completely, but he had been hoping. Batman didn't answer, as always reluctant to waste words, and Jim took a moment looking at him. The suit was different again, but in the darkness he couldn't say much about what changed. "So, I'm back," he said awkwardly, unnecessarily, thinking himself rather foolish for wasting the Bat's time for selfish reasons.
Batman nodded, as if to say that he could see that much. Jim sighed, turning to look out at the city.
"I left the city once," Batman offered, and Jim looked up, startled. It was probably the most personal thing he heard from the Bat, and one of the very few unprompted ones. He was almost afraid to speak, but nothing else followed, and he needed to ask.
"Didn't stick," he said and stepped away, leaving Gordon wondering if it was meant to be comforting, or Batman's attempt at humour. Either way, it was something.