Pairing: Jim/Bruce, eventually.
Rating: PG-13 for now.
Word count: 1289
Montoya was incredibly efficient at running the crime scenes; the perimeter was secured, the CSU was already busy by the time Gordon arrived, and she always remembered to send a rookie to get coffee.
“Thank you,” he said, accepting a cup from a young cop, whose uniform proclaimed him to be called Gilbert, and who seemed like he should still be in high school, and as if he was sneaking out past his curfew to be on the scene.
“Nice suit, boss,” Montoya grinned widely at him. “You seem to have lost parts of it.”
“What do we have, Detective?” he asked, ignoring the comment. It was the only thing that worked with her, and even that was about fifty percent of the time.
“For example, I think a bow-tie is a customary part of the ensemble,” she said, indicating that this wasn’t the lucky percentage of the time. “How exactly did you lose it?”
“None of your business,” he told her pleasantly, not worrying about any implications this might have. Worrying about the conclusions Montoya would draw was never productive, since those were always the wrong, and always the worst possible conclusions. She seemed to like it that way.
She gave him a meaningful look, then grew serious, concentrating on the topic at hand. She did that, too, which was mostly why he tolerated the rest; her antics were good for morale, even if the jokes were occasionally at his expense and she never pushed too far and always came back to the seriousness of the job. Eventually.
“Did Stephens bring you up to speed?” she asked, and he shrugged.
“I read the files,” he muttered, getting a small understanding nod in return; the files were definitely not a pleasant read, however riveting.
“More of the same,” she gestured towards the alley. “I don’t know why Gerald bothered you all the way here, other than the excuse to abandon the Wayne party to which, I might add but I won’t, some of us weren’t invited, even if some of us might want to go, and finally have a good occasion to wear the dress that is hanging sadly in our closet, which we spent half of our paycheck on and…” she paused under his stare. “I suppose you might want to talk to the witnesses?” she suggested, maintaining his gaze with a deadpan expression.
“I think I might,” he agreed dryly. “Hint taken, next Wayne party, you can go in my place.”
“Don’t think I can pull off a good commissioner, but I’ll start looking around for a suitable fake mustache,” she assured him, then her gaze shifted to the left, her eyes narrowing. “Well.”
“Well?” he asked, turning, and catching the slight movement that could have been just a trick of light of the still flashing siren on the nearby car, but had his stomach tightening nonetheless.
“I think it’s for your benefit,” Montoya muttered. “He never bothered to show for simple murders while you were gone.”
He didn’t really have an answer to that, but the warm feeling in his chest at the idea was unexpected and just a little bit foolish, but he couldn’t help it. “Coincidence, probably,” he offered, and almost missed the eyeroll that followed from her.
“Sure. I’ll go and talk to our forensics friends,” she told him slowly, and marched off, waving at Sparks from the CSU.
“You’re becoming easier to spot, apparently,” he said to the shadow upon reaching the alleyway.
“When I want to,” Batman said, and if he was a person prone to shrugging, he probably would be, but since he wasn’t, he just stood there in perfect stillness. “Fourth body,” he added, not quite a question, and Gordon nodded.
“I’m sure the perp will be glad to know that fourth time’s the charm to get your attention,” he said, not really expecting an answer, but hopeful for one. It didn’t come, and he leaned against the wall, patting his pockets for a pack of smokes. One of these days he was going to quit, but one of these days was never that particular day. “Let me guess, you’ll look into it and let me know?”
“Something like that,” the Bat said, and Jim was almost sure he could see a small smile, closer to a smirk than anything else.
“Good.” It felt like that, too, things slowly easing back into normal, or at least as much of the normal as anyone could achieve in Gotham, anyone whose daily life included working closely with the city’s most wanted vigilante. “You probably know where to find me, too,” he added, lighting up the cigarette, shielding it from the wind. “Well, you might have some troubles this weekend, if you don’t plan on visiting Philadelphia, but you can call on Montoya then.”
“Philadelphia?” the Bat asked, his head turning just a fraction.
Jim nodded, looking thoughtfully out of the alley, where Montoya argued vehemently with one of the newest homicide detectives. “Jimmy has an important game. I promised I’ll be there.” He had missed enough of those before they moved, but attended every single on in Philly, and he wasn’t going to fall into old bad habits.
The Bat didn’t answer for a long time, and Jim started to think that once again he had melted into the shadows, leaving him in the middle of his sentence, but the feeling of being watched hadn’t disappeared, and he waited.
“Baseball?” Batman asked finally, and Jim nodded, smiling.
“The team isn’t very good,” he admitted, but couldn’t keep a note of pride from his voice, not when speaking of Jimmy. Speaking of… “He told me to tell you…” he started, pausing to inhale the smoke, giving himself a moment to find the words. Batman waited patiently, just a slight tilt of the cowl suggesting that he listened attentively. “That they didn’t forget. He got into a fight defending you, right at the beginning,” he added, shaking his head. “Babs keeps a scrapbook about you. Prints things out from the internet.”
“How are they?” the Bat asked, voice just a little bit lower than even his usual rasp.
Jim hated this question, everyone seemed to ask it, especially right after Dent and the entire wretched business, but Batman asking was different. He had asked that before, too, every time they met in the short time before Jim left Gotham, and at least this time, Jim wasn’t lying when he said “Fine. They’re doing fine.”
No answer this time, and the silence stretched between them, like the cloud of smoke from Jim’s cigarette, the ash falling onto the pavement. “What else?” he asked finally, and the Bat gave him a vaguely surprised look, causing Jim to smile. “I wouldn’t think that a straightforward murder warranted your attention. Hell, it probably doesn’t even need the city’s commissioner on the case, but I don’t really care about that. So, there’s something else you want to talk about, isn’t there?”
Of course, maybe Montoya was right, and it was just Batman being his usual friendly and welcoming self and extending a courtesy visit, but Jim wasn’t about to put money on that one. Montoya had the strangest ideas.
“It can wait until you come back,” the Bat said, something in his inflection puzzling Jim, but before he could comment on it, he realized he was alone again.
“Typical,” he muttered, forcing back a smile, and walked out of the alley, intent on saving the poor homicide detective from Montoya’s wrath.