Rating: PG-13 for now.
Pairings: Jim/Bruce, Babs/Steve, Babs/Dick, Jimmy/Davika
A/N: Part of the groundverse.
Jim’s morning meeting ends half an hour earlier than expected, surprisingly. Meetings don’t usually end early for him, and he’s not entirely sure what to do with the time on his hands. So of course he does the first thing that comes to mind, and checks for any messages from work.
There’s an e-mail from Montoya, marked as important and entitled ‘per your request’, which is damn odd, since he didn’t request anything. It does leave only one possible explanation.
“What is your interest in Graysons’ deaths?” he asks first thing once Bruce picks up, and gets a dry chuckle in return.
“Good morning to you too, Jim. I’m glad you missed me.”
Jim rolls his eyes. “Terribly. Can’t imagine how I got through fourteen hours without you by my side. Now, the Graysons?”
“There are some leads I’m pursuing. Don’t worry about it.”
“I’ve seen the news, Bruce. The kid saw everything?”
“He saw enough,” Bruce says in a clipped tone, and Jim shakes his head. Worse than he thought, if that’s the tone he gets, the very one Bruce hides behind when things hit too close to home.
A kid seeing his parents killed, that’s as close and personal as it gets, with Bruce.
“I’m coming back,” he decides. “Done with meetings, mostly, I have an interview planned during lunch, but I can blow it.”
Bruce hesitates. “I’m fine, Jim. Do the interview, Clark will be disappointed if you don’t. And frankly, disappointing Clark is akin to kicking the biggest puppy in the world.”
“Do you know all the journalists in the country?” Jim asks, snorting.
“Just the good ones, really. And the ones from tabloids by appearance, so I can avoid them more easily.”
Jim thought as much. He sighs, running his hand through his hair. “Fine, I’ll do the interview, but I’m coming back right after.”
“I’m not going to argue that point,” Bruce mutters. “I, unlike some others, can admit I’ve missed you.”
It’s not just that, Jim thinks, but that’s what Bruce will admit to. “I love you, you know?” he says instead of calling Bruce on the omission.
“I know. Love you too. And I’m sending the plane for you,” he adds, and disconnects before Jim can protest, which is just typical.
Jim re-dials, and Bruce doesn’t pick up for at least two signals, probably thinking Jim’s calling to argue about the plane. He would, but, as usual, it would get him nowhere but the airport. They’ve been through this one all too many times.
“Where’s the kid?” Jim asks, once Bruce does pick up.
“How would I know?”
Jim sighs. “Bruce,” he says with some degree of exasperation. “Let’s establish two things. One, you are pathetically incapable of playing an innocent, and two, I’m not exactly stupid. No one knows where the kid is, theorizing that we took him into protective custody, which is certainly possible, but not if you got there first. So?”
“At the manor. I’ve left him with Babs,” Bruce offers. He sounds wary, as if uncertain of Jim’s reaction. “Is that alright?”
Jim rolls his eyes. “I’m pretty sure my daughter is capable of telling you to fuck off if she doesn’t want to do something,” he mutters. Maybe not in those exact words, but she is. “I don’t like the fact that she has memories allowing her to sympathise with young Richard in this particular case, but she’ll be fine. As you well know,” he adds. Dealing with Bruce when it’s one of these cases… it takes some practice.
“Just making sure,” Bruce says, and there’s someone’s voice in the background, Jim can’t make it out. “I have to go, Jim. I’ll see you soon?”
“Yes, you will. Don’t do anything particularly stupid while I’m gone,” Jim warns him and gets a snort.
“Just moderately stupid, gotcha.”
Dealing with Bruce in general takes some practice, Jim thinks. But if anyone has it, it’s him.