Rating: PG-13 for now.
Pairings: Jim/Bruce, Babs/Steve, Babs/Dick, Jimmy/Davika
A/N: Part of the groundverse. I didn't think I'd post today, but the fact that nowweretwo has its anniversary today helped me overcome my writer's block. You have no idea how much I adore you, guys :)
Things that don’t happen to Renee Montoya every day include, but are not limited to; broken coffee maker at the MCU unit, journalists calling her up to ask about a high profile case she’s working on (that’s only every second day), and Bruce Wayne calling her on her cell and interrupting her breakfast (that consists of a cup of black coffee she sent a rookie to get from Starbucks and one of the snicker bars she has stocked up in her desk drawer for just such a day).
It’s not that Bruce Wayne calling her cell that is so surreal; sure, it’s not exactly usual but it has been known to happen. It’s that it interrupts her breakfast and not, say, dinner, and it’s not even that late kind of breakfast that could just as well be dinner.
“If you’re calling because Commish lost the key to his handcuffs, I’m not coming over to help,” she warns him, washing down the last piece of the chocolate concoction with her coffee. Normally, she’d go for a mochaccino, but she had a feeling that it was going to be one of those days. A well-founded feeling, judging by the call.
She gets a startled laugh from Bruce, who takes a moment to respond, which worries her, as it means he was all prepared to go on about the business side of things, and when he does that, when he doesn’t take time to flirt and tease, you know it’s bad.
“One, Detective, I resent the suggestion that I wouldn’t be able to free myself from the standard issue handcuffs Jim uses,” he says, and she almost smirks, and holds back any smartass comments about him apparently being quite familiar with those. “And second, Jim’s in Metropolis,” he points out. The ‘which is why I’m calling you’ goes unspoken, and she pinches the bridge of her nose.
“Grayson’s case?” she asks and doesn’t wait for the answer, or the question she knows will follow. “I know you took the kid in,” she offers.
“Did I?” he asks, his tone light and curious, and she rolls her eyes. Fine, they can play.
“Let me rephrase. We have all the reason to believe that Batman was on the scene and that he took steps to protect Richard Grayson. Which, we assume, would be done by contacting commissioner Gordon as to the required course of action, and acting on his advice to leave young Mr Grayson in Wayne’s Manor, one of the best protected buildings in the city.”
They could just skip all the bullshit, she thought, and actually tell her, one of these days. She had worked it out years ago, she isn’t an idiot, but it would be nice to have it confirmed once and for all, and not have to play all those games, especially while she is working on only one coffee cup.
“Yes, Detective, that’s exactly what happened,” Bruce agrees cheerfully.
“So, in short, you took the kid in,” she says pointedly. She likes Bruce, she really does, both in his public persona and his more vigilante-y version and most of all, she likes the Bruce that comes by during lunch to drag the commish out of his office and away from the crime scene photos he’s been staring at for hours. But just sometimes this very Bruce, the real one, is the most irritating of them all; with both the steely intellect and a tendency to twist words and play games.
But she puts up with it, since a lot of that is to protect Gordon and his family, and that she can get behind.
“I took the kid in,” he confirms, and sighs. “Babs is with him now, I thought he could use someone to talk to.”
And who’s better than a girl who saw her mother shot in front of her? Bruce had a nasty mind sometimes, but it makes sense. She doesn’t point out that even better would be someone who had seen both of his parents killed, because she is a good person and actually had a coffee already. But that is also why Bruce is so invested in this one, probably.
“You want info, or you have info?” she asks, cutting to the chase and already opening the files on her computer, holding the phone wedged between her shoulder and her ear. “And of course, I assume you’re simply acting as a conduit for the commish, as he’s unable to contact me directly due to a weird cellphone malfunction that allows him only to call your number?” Renee adds, not holding the sarcasm back this time.
“Precisely,” Bruce says, and she can almost hear the small smile, which annoys her just slightly more. Then he sighs again. “Renee, it’s better this way. Plausible deniability. You’re safer.”
Yes, she knows that. She also really, really doesn’t like it. She wonders if that’s how Jim Gordon felt, long ago, when he still didn’t know. She’s pretty sure there was a time when Jim Gordon didn’t know. She wonders if there was a moment when he was caught between knowing and not being told, like she is now, and if it sucked as much as it does for her.
“Bruce,” she says pleasantly, drawing his name. “I can take care of myself, so fuck off and cut the games,” she finishes, and feels all the better for this. “I’ll send all the files to Gordon’s account; I assume you have access to it?”
“I do. Now, Tony Zucco is still in prison?” he asks, as if he didn’t know. She rolls her eyes, if anyone does have an almost encyclopedic knowledge of Gotham criminals’ whereabouts, it’s Bruce. “I need you to check who’s been visiting him, if he’s been contacting anyone. Few years ago, on Graysons’ first visit to Gotham, he tried the ‘protection’ bit on them.”
“Sounds like a start,” she agrees, not asking where he gets his intel. Sometimes it really is better not to know. “I’ll let you know,” she says, and he barks a laugh. “What?” she huffs.
“You sounded just a bit like Jim,” he mutters, his voice slightly muffled, as if he was shaking his head.
She’ll take that as a compliment. Being compared to Jim Gordon is generally a double edged sword, making her proud and just slightly terrified at the same time; those are some damn difficult boots to fill, even if he did think she’d do well running the MCU.
She’s not growing a mustache, though; no matter how many times rookies paint one on a newspaper picture they stick to the bulletin board.
“Nothing, Detective. I’ll be in touch,” Bruce says, and there’s a moment when he draws the phone away from his ear, but then rethinks. “Thanks, Renee. I do appreciate it.”
“Right back atcha,” she mutters, smiling. It is rather difficult to stay annoyed with him, she has to admit as she disconnects and searches her phonebook for the number to the prison.