Rating: PG-13 for this chapter.
Word count: 577
A/N: Written for this prompt at thck_as_thieves, the story quickly spiralled out of control. Here is the last part, ending the whole story at a little over 22,000 words. Thank you all for the encouragement throughout, all your comments made my day, every damn time.
The silence stretched between them, textured and heavy. Batman’s breathing was calm and even, and Jim couldn’t even begin to fathom how much self control it must had taken, all the tension contained deep under the skin, in the tightly coiled muscles.
His hand on Batman’s chest, he could feel it; the tightness and the expectancy, the breathing just a little bit too shallow.
Maybe it would be easier on both of them to get it over with fast, like ripping off a band-aid, but the dramatic unmasking was too grand a gesture, suited for a life or death situation, and not the quiet haven of the bedroom. Jim could flip the light switch right now, but he didn’t make a move, just waited.
And it felt right this way, to reach out and brush his thumb across Bruce’s lips, trail his fingers down the side of his face.
He couldn’t pinpoint the moment when he went from ignorance to suspicion to certainty, it was too gradual, slow and lazy like the crawling rays of sunshine filling the room, but the knowledge must have registered on his face somehow, because Bruce’s breath caught, his whole body tensing again, preparing for the worst.
Jim sighed. “At least some things make sense,” he said matter-of-factly, aware that he couldn’t hold back a small smile, and not trying all that much. Some things did make sense now, the coincidences, the resources, all the little and the big things that were puzzling and important and yet somehow insignificant here.
“And the other things?” Bruce asked, and Jim laughed, leaning into a slow kiss, tongue brushing across lips lightly.
“The other things still don’t make any sense,” he muttered, grinning, getting a slightly surprised snort in response.
“Jim,” Bruce said, and Jim thought that was a first; Bruce Wayne chastising him into seriousness.
“Whoever you’d turn out to be, it would have been fine,” he said, and it wasn’t even a lie, just a guess that didn’t have to be tested.
Bruce nodded slowly, his brow furrowed just slightly, as if he still wasn’t sure if he could let himself believe that. That was hesitance in him that Jim wished could fade away, but they had time for this now, and he supposed he could work with that.
He wished he could say something now, anything to help melt the worry and the insecurity that didn’t have a place in here, but the words on the tip of his tongue were forming too fast. All of this, all the wanting and needing and hoping and caring, it amounted to something profound and terrifying, but to say it now would be disastrous, they weren’t there yet.
“I should move and make that coffee,” Bruce said finally, looking away, as if the intensity of the moment was too much.
“Don’t even move,” Jim muttered, shifting to find a more comfortable position. “We have at least two hours before I need to get up, and I intend to take full advantage of the time.”
“Oh? How so?” Bruce asked, his tone light and teasing, just as it should be.
Maybe this wasn’t the time and place for grand gestures and declarations, but for the first time in a very long while, Jim Gordon felt like he was right where he wanted and needed to be.