Pairing: Jim/Bruce, eventually.
Rating: PG-13 for this chapter.
Word count: 1691
In the end, all they were able to pin on Corrigan was leaking some of the crime scene photos to the press and selling insignificant pieces of evidence online. It would get him fired, but not send him to prison, especially not in the light of Montoya’s outburst and his lawyer’s considerable skill.
Corrigan walked out of the precinct in the afternoon, and Gordon busied himself with paperwork to try and not think about it too much. He had called Montoya to let her know, but she had turned off her cellphone, which was probably a good thing.
He called Barbara and the kids too, and listened to Babs talking about her schoolwork for twenty minutes without scarcely a pause for breath, and discussed Phillies’ recent games, and the time slowly passed without him thinking of everything that happened throughout the day. Finally, Barbara took over the phone, sending the kids away to watch some tv show.
“Jim,” she said pleasantly, and he could tell he was busted. She always had an uncanny ability of reading him, which was beneficial when it cut through the awkwardness of him asking her out for the first time, but was rather irritating at the moment. “What’s going on?”
“Why do you think anything is going on?” he tried, and she sighed tiredly.
“Tough case, then?” she said and they were both silent for a long moment, neither having any desire to discuss his work. She had always asked, when they were married, but she didn’t want the answers then either, and he never wanted to burden her.
“You can say that,” he agreed and she sighed again, and he could tell she was moving, walking through the house, probably into the kitchen, shutting the doors behind her.
“Now, I know that tone. That tone says you’re trying not to make me worry,” she muttered, her tone clearly indicating it would be better for everyone involved if he cut the bullshit. “So, either you’ve been shot and you’re calling from the hospital to talk to the kids…?” she asked, her tone light enough to convey that she didn’t believe that one, but dark enough that he knew she realized the possibility all too well.
“No,” he told her quickly and could almost hear her nod.
“Or you’re thinking of dating someone and you’re worried of how I might react,” she concluded, smiling, and it stopped whatever he might wanted to say. “So, that one, huh?” she muttered.
“I don’t…” he started, but she interrupted quickly.
“Jim, we’re divorced. I’m pretty sure, I was there when we signed the papers,” she sighed, the exasperated one she used when he was being particularly dense. “And I do reserve the right to completely hate anyone you date, but I do want you to be happy,” she told him pointedly.
“Thank you,” he said softly, and waited for a beat. “Does it mean I get to threaten with bodily harm anyone you date, in case they ever hurt you?”
“Comes with the territory, I suppose,” she laughed. “So, is it anyone I know?”
“I’m not sure, maybe,” he lied and reached out to shift some papers before she could say anything else. “Listen, I need to go.”
“Sure you do. I’ll get it out of you at some point,” she threatened and walked out of the kitchen. “Kids, say good night to Dad,” she said, holding the phone up, and he heard the chorus of ‘good night’ from them before her voice returned clearly. “Take care, Jim,” she said quietly.
“You, too,” he smiled and disconnected, looking at the phone for a long moment, his thoughts absently picking at something she said but he couldn’t yet place, the nagging feeling of something on the tip of your tongue, an idea not yet fully formed.
“Why are you even still here?” Stephens asked, coming into his office. Jim almost snorted at that, as Stephens was almost as bad as him with adhering to working hours and actual shifts.
“You just don’t want to work with your boss looking over your shoulder,” Jim pointed out, but stood up, reaching for his coat. Stephens was right, it was late, and he had been procrastinating anyway.
It wasn’t an entirely new feeling, but still a strange one to have in this situation, but he actually looked forward to getting home, hoping that maybe Batman would show. It was a good feeling to have.
“You got that right,” Gerry agreed cheerfully. “Cramps my style.”
Jim gave him a look.
“Let me take that back,” Stephens muttered.
The traffic was rather heavy, and he resisted putting on the siren just to avoid it. The sky darkened slowly, and by the time he got to his apartment, it was all shadows and darkness, and Jim didn’t turn on the lights, just walked into the kitchen in his coat and turned on the coffee maker, waiting.
He didn’t have to wait long, Batman appeared soon enough, and for once, he didn’t bother with all the stealthy approach and not making a sound. He still came through the window, of course, but Jim couldn’t really hold that one against him.
“Coffee?” he asked pleasantly, and didn’t get a real answer, just Batman’s arms around him, their bodies pressing close together. The cowl, was already gone, Batman’s lips on his neck, skin on skin, and apparently Jim wasn’t the only one who needed this after a long and difficult day.
“I take it you’ve heard about Corrigan?” he asked before he could stop, and cursed himself inwardly for bringing it up.
Batman nodded, and even though Jim couldn’t see his face, he was pretty sure it was set in the same grimace he wore at the thought.
“I wish I could talk to Zsasz, get him to give Corrigan up,” Batman said and Jim shrugged. He wished that too, but it was not going to help. “Maybe if I got Corrigan to…” Batman started.
“I think Montoya did enough of ‘talking’ in this case,” he muttered and reached out, running his hand down Batman’s face, feeling the tension slowly ease under his fingertips. “We have Zsasz, at least, and he’ll stay locked up for a few lifetimes.”
It wasn’t that much of a comforting thought, but it was better than nothing. Zsasz already had a life sentence before, the recent spree was just going to add up to that, making it certain that there would be no parole in twenty years or so. Even if Corrigan was going to walk, they had that.
It was the worst when it was one of them, one of the cops. Four years ago, before Batman arrived in the city, it wouldn’t have hit Jim that much, it was something he was all too used to. But things changed, and yet, not enough.
“Jim?” Batman asked, hand covering his, and Jim could read the concern in his voice, knowing that he drifted away in his thoughts for a moment.
“Why have you chosen me?” he asked, words forming without much of his conscious thoughts behind them, but it was something he needed to know for a long while now.
Batman’s fingers tightened on his, and for a moment, Jim expected him to dismiss the topic, to pretend he didn’t understand. Instead, he shrugged, tensing just a little, almost imperceptibly, if Jim wasn’t standing so close.
“You were one of the very few honest cops left in the city,” he said, and it wasn’t the truth, even if it might have been a fact. At the time, not taking bribes was more simply a stubborn foolishness than anything resembling honour, no matter what he chose to think of it.
“No, I wasn’t,” Jim muttered. He might have been sticking to the rules, but honesty had little to do with it.
“Jim,” the Bat repeated, his fingers threading Jim’s hair, hand resting on the back of his head, guiding him closer as they met in a rushed kiss that might have been doing a much better job of explaining things between them than whatever words they had.
Much later, in what looked to be the small hours, the sky slowly turning from black to gray, Jim woke up to the feeling of being watched. Batman’s breathing wasn’t even enough to suggest sleep, even if he hadn’t spoken for a long moment, waiting.
“I know you, don’t I?” Jim asked, closing his eyes again, feeling rather than hearing the small hitch in Batman’s breath. “I’ve been thinking, something someone said,” he shrugged. “You always took great pains to obscure the voice. And besides, it would be terribly anticlimactic if, one day, you took off that cowl and it was an unfamiliar face.”
“We’ve met,” Batman agreed, sidestepping the real question, his voice careful and restrained, not a trace of feeling colouring it.
Jim laughed, opening his eyes. “Wrong phrasing. Of course I know you,” he said, meaning not the name the man had in his driver’s license, but all the actually important things.
When he looked to the left and concentrated just enough, he could barely make out the features of the man beside him; he had no idea how familiar they really were.
“What’s your question, Jim?” Batman said, hiding his impatience rather well, Jim thought.
Jim shifted, leaning into a slow kiss, licking at Batman’s lips, slowly coaxing them open.
“Not a question,” he shook his head, the air he was breathing out mixing with Batman’s breath. “A request. Stay,” he said quietly, just a shade above whisper.
He could feel the moment Batman understood, the words he chose not to say breathed out slowly as he shifted, glancing at the slowly brightening sky.
They waited together, pressed closely. Jim watched the shadows shifting over Batman’s skin, daylight slowly bringing out familiar features.