Pairings: Jim/Bruce ultimately, Bruce/Rachel for a bit, others mentioned.
Rating: PG-13 for now.
Wordcount: 5,424 for this part.
Summary: Fate is what we make, but some things are bound to happen. A re-write of Batman Begins, of a sort.
A/N: I have just realised that gaudy_night is writing a very similar story for NaNo. It's a further proof that we have all synced our brains in this fandom. It's also a great cause for worry, because her story is fantastic. Oh, well, I've spent a month brainstorming this one, so have it anyway. :)
If Alfred Pennyworth had nightmares, phone calls in the middle of the night would feature heavily in them.
He doesn’t. Not nightmares. Uncomfortable, tense dreams that have one wake up disoriented and breathing harshly, yes, but not nightmares. You can’t call them that when you know the full meaning of the world, when you wake up every other night to terrified sounds a young boy makes in his sleep, a boy who is inconsolable and closed off.
If Alfred Pennyworth had nightmares, phone calls would feature heavily in them: the insistent ringing still sounding in his ears, a memory of one October night when he had been asked to come by the precinct and pick up young Master Wayne. Now, the only Master Wayne.
Bruce had been sitting in the middle of a normally busy working area, now empty of anyone else but a little boy, wrapped in his father’s coat, lost among messy desks and piles of paperwork. Bruce was staring at something on the floor, eyes unblinking for so long Alfred became concerned.
(It was laughable, really, of all the things to get concerned about right there and then.)
Bruce looked up, eyes slowly focusing on Alfred. His eyes were still red but dry, and for a moment he looked incredibly world-weary, as if he had known something Alfred would never be able to comprehend. Maybe that was really the case. But the moment passed, Bruce blinked quickly, trying to hold back a new surge of tears, and he was again a young boy in his father’s coat, who needed more comfort than an old and dry butler could provide.
Alfred looked around to find Bruce’s own coat, but the boy shook his head. “Leave it,” he muttered, hand sliding into Alfred’s.
They passed through the precinct, stopped briefly by Lieutenant Loeb, who assured Alfred that the culprit had been caught, and that he would soon be prosecuted and that ‘the nightmare would soon be over’. Alfred held back the obvious biting remark pressing against his tongue. It would be unkind and impolite. Frankly, he wouldn’t care, in this case, as unkind and impolite it could be, it was warranted, but Bruce was standing right there.
Bruce was standing right there, looking somewhere to the right, but his eyes lost that unfocused quality; it wasn’t a stare at nothing, it was a curious gaze of a boy who had found something of interest.
Three younger officers in patrol uniforms appeared to be lost in conversation, but every now and then one of them would risk a glance at Alfred and Bruce. Alfred could understand that; everything the Wayne’s did had been deemed newsworthy even before this, now the public eye won’t ever have enough of Bruce, but really, the thinly veiled display of curiosity was now grating on his nerves.
That was until one of the officers, the one with a moustache that was probably already unfashionable in the last century, took his turn to take a glance, and it wasn’t curiosity that filled his expression, but barely hidden concern as he searched Bruce’s face, not even bothering to give Alfred a passing look.
This was in itself interesting, but the important part was that Bruce’s tight hold on Alfred’s hand eased a little, and the boy’s tense expression eased minutely, as if his thoughts finally stumbled upon something else that the terrible loss. More than interesting.
Few weeks later he would recall this moment, and the way the officer’s eyes followed them with concern as they left, and he would make a decision. At that moment, however, he had other things to worry about, and how. The arrangements for the funeral, for example, and that had been just the beginning. There was the manor, the staff, some of whom would be leaving, the company… everything that had been Waynes’ life.
Thomas Wayne’s lawyers had apparently performed some strange kind of lawyer magic, or at least mental gymnastics that went against everything logic or common sense or practice would suggest, and managed to make Alfred both an employee of young Bruce Wayne and his sole guardian and a custodian of the Wayne family fortune. The will was airtight, and it was to prove to be so in the coming weeks and months when many would try to test it.
None of that really concerned Alfred, apart from taking a few minutes a day to deal with the updates, he left the matter in the lawyers’ hands. They seemed much more interested in the outcome.
Bruce was Alfred’s main concern, and on some days, his only concern. Wayne Enterprises could run themselves, or could be run by whoever was actually interested, and the whole Gotham could be slowly coming out of the shock the Wayne’s murder threw it into, but none of it matter outside of the city, in the somehow secluded Wayne Manor.
Mrs. Dawes had already left, taking Rachel with her, and Bruce took to spending hours in his room, looking outside but never venturing there. Alfred wondered what could it be that Bruce was seeing there, his gaze steady and fixed, because it for sure wasn’t the garden. The possibilities were endless, and endlessly worrying.
Maybe it would do the boy some good if he could see other people, other kids. But Rachel was gone, and sending Bruce back to school right at the moment was out of the question. The principal himself had called and said that with the current interest everyone, from the press to the kids themselves, was showing in Bruce, it might be better for the boy if he was homeschooled for a while.
Bruce was beyond smart, especially for his age, so the education wasn’t the problem. He went through the motions of doing homework and studying, but even if the knowledge stuck, it didn’t really seem as if anything really got through to him.
Of course there had been one guilt-ridden outburst, as to be expected, but even if Bruce seemed slightly better for a few days, the improvement didn’t last beyond dealing with one aspect of his nightmares out of a myriad.
Alfred was no stranger to loss, and he was no stranger to dealing with it. You don’t go through life, especially one that is reasonably eventful and comfortably long, without gaining that particular experience. It didn’t matter right now; none of those experiences was even remotely close to what Bruce was going through.
And try as he might, he couldn’t get through; Bruce was wearing the same closed off expression, polite and sad and slowly becoming permanent. Few weeks after the funeral, once they visited the cemetery, Alfred came to a decision made on a hunch, something he rarely did.
“I was asked to come by the precinct,” he said, not taking his eyes off the road and not giving in to the urge to glance in the mirror to look at Bruce, huddled listlessly in the corner of the backseat. “Would you be alright if we did so now, or should I get you to the house?”
A rare look of interest answered him and Bruce nodded, as Alfred had been counting on. “Precinct.”
“If you could wait here, Master Bruce,” Alfred said once they got inside, and didn’t look back as he made his way to Loeb’s office, going through valid reasons for his visit. It wasn’t a perfect plan, no, but he had spent the last two days trying to get Bruce to eat something more than a piece of bread and he was slowly growing just that little desperate.
Bruce had flatly refused to see a therapist, and frankly, Alfred never really believed in this particular brand of psychology. And since Mrs. Dawes and Rachel moved out there really was no one beside Alfred who would see the scared boy, and not the great tragedy that occurred. The entire city was fascinated by the Waynes, a fascination that turned morbid after the murder. But there had been someone who looked at Bruce and offered what little comfort he could, and Alfred supposed this could be enough, for the start.
He looked into Officer James W. Gordon. Of course he did, he’s not above utilizing his resources when it comes to looking after Bruce’s wellbeing. There’s nothing special about the man’s file, nothing special about his past or his career. Alfred wouldn’t be able to pick him from a crowd of other uniformed police, but that wasn’t what mattered here at all.
After discussing his only-slightly-imaginary concerns about Joe Chill’s trial, Alfred came out of Loeb’s office to find his hastily concocted plan had worked. To what degree exactly it was to be determined, but Bruce had moved from the chair in the waiting area to sit behind one of the desks, studying a badge he was holding, asking about something. Gordon smiled slightly under his mustache and proceeded to explain something, pointing at the badge.
Alfred wasn’t the only one watching them; they were definitely the centre of attention of everyone at the station, and if this was how the police force handled undercover work, Alfred wept for the city. Bruce didn’t seem to notice, but Gordon, for all his attempts at easy posture and nonchalance, seemed quite aware. He looked up as Alfred approached and nodded. “Mr. Pennyworth.”
“It’s Alfred,” Bruce pointed out, standing up and extending his hand to return the badge. Gordon took it with care and attached it to his belt. Alfred could now notice the absence of the gun holster, even though other uniform officers had them on.
“We have to go, Master Bruce,” Alfred offered quietly. “Mr. Gordon.”
“Goodbye, Mr. Gordon,” Bruce chorused, and there was a new spring in his step as they were leaving, something that prompted Alfred to conclude his plan had been rather successful, all in all. Of course, all that was left to do was come up with a new, even better plan.
Some people he knew when he was younger used to call him a meddling bastard, with some awe mixed with laughing fear. To be honest, they didn’t even know the half of it.
Gotham City could be the great love of Jim Gordon’s life, he concluded after six months spent there. He used to think it was Sandra Browning, with her honey blond hair and scraped knees. Then he thought it might be Sarah Essen, blond as well, with a great aim at the shooting range and a rather sharp tongue. But now he thought it could be Gotham, scary as it was.
Three months in and he’s infatuated. His mother, a quiet woman with graying red hair and a smile that bore more than a trace of sadness used to say that real love was the one that didn’t come easy, that it was far from moons and Junes and Ferris wheels.
His mother loved Joni Mitchell a little bit too much, he always thought.
But Gotham had probably never in its life seen a real June. He arrived in early May, and in November, the weather hadn’t changed at all. It was cold and dark and depressing, and yet, it seemed like he had lived here for his entire life. He wasn’t sure why that was, maybe he was just discovering a previously unknown masochist streak, but he even enjoyed the long shifts and the paperwork.
“It’ll pass,” Flass told him, again and again. “Gotham’s a bitch, Jimbo, sooner you learn it, better for you.”
Flass’ life philosophy could probably be a fascinating subject of research, but Jim doesn’t feel even slightly inclined to try.
The city had seen better days, that for sure. The wrong part of town is seemingly all of it, save for a few blocks right in the centre, and the Palisades. It’s dirty and dark and knee-deep both in debt and, possibly, shit, but there’s no mistaking the feeling he got when setting foot on its ground for the first time. Home. He can’t explain it, but he couldn’t explain why he liked that Sandra could outsmart him at hide and seek and why he liked when Sarah’s wrists smelled like gunpowder.
Two weeks into his stay he knew a number of useful and useless facts about Gotham. He knew everyone at his department, and the best burger joint, and the good coffee shop where it was cheap and strong and they didn’t ask him if he wanted some ridiculous flavored thing that inescapably ends in ‘-cino’. He also knew more than he ever wanted about the Wayne family, because wherever you went in Gotham, they tended to be the main topic, whether the details under discussion were Martha Wayne’s dresses, or Wayne Enterprises stock prices.
Three months into his new life, he stumbled upon Flass taking a bribe for the first time. First time stumbling, not a first bribe; that was painfully obvious and obviously a wrong thing to comment on.
“That’s the thing about the job, Jimmy. Nothing bad, you see, just some grease to the wheels to make the town run smoothly. Everyone does it.”
Jim didn’t say: ‘If everyone jumped off a cliff, would you expect me to?’ This would be coming too close to sounding like his kindergarten teacher.
“Come back,” Sarah advised him on the phone, and her voice sounded distant, and like another stranger. Her wedding was three weeks away and he lied that his new job kept him too busy but, well, best wishes.
Five months after he came to Gotham, the worldview of the entire city was shaken by a double homicide. Something that had been a run of the mill for anyone on the force: two bodies in a dark alley, had become an almost national sensation.
Crime scene photos had been snuck out to the press; a regrettable but not uncommon occurrence, and soon every news program and every talk show was full of details and stories, most of them untrue. People made a great fuss about the whole of Wayne Enterprises falling into the hands of someone not yet out of primary school, and they prophesized either a glamorous or tragic future for young Bruce Wayne.
Not one of them had been there on the night when it happened, when a terrified boy was ushered into an empty office at the station and left alone for over an hour.
It had been one hell of a way to start the night shift; Jim had just clocked in when the call for all available units came in. The first officers on the scene had brought the kid in and called the emergency contact on his file, but no one bothered to do anything else, everyone was in desperate pursuit of the fleeing suspect.
The press was crowding in the main area, visible through the glass, desperate to take a photo. The boy was clutching a coat obviously too big to be his, clinging on for the deer life, fists tightened and knuckles white.
There wasn’t much to say, as Jim knelt in front of him, but he needed to reach out anyway. He shouldn’t even be here, in Loeb’s office, right now, he should be outside, helping to contain the chaos of the precinct. He didn’t care all that much.
“Is that your father’s?” he asked, reaching for the coat. Bruce shifted uneasily, panic flashing in his eyes, as if Jim was trying to take the coat away. “It’s okay,” he muttered, his voice sounding strange to his own ears, rough for the way his throat tightened. “Come here,” he tugged at the coat, putting it around the kid’s shoulders, wrapping him in it.
“It’s okay,” he repeated, an empty platitude, as he stroked the boy’s cheek. It was a ghost of a gesture, something his mother used to do before she kissed him and his brother goodnight, before she turned the lights off. Comforting, that’s what he remembered about it, the smell of her hair as she leaned down. “It’s okay.”
Maybe it didn’t need to mean anything, maybe it could be empty, like a prayer sent skywards, waiting to be fulfilled.
The kid looked up, blinking, breathing in as if he was going to say something, but Loeb entered and called up on him, sending him back outside.
The gray-haired British gentleman arrived twenty minutes later, and his name made rounds around the station. Alfred Pennyworth, the Wayne’s butler prior to tonight and Bruce Wayne’s guardian and who-the-hell-knows-what of the Wayne Enterprises right now. Jim didn’t care about the official titles or whatnot, but the way Bruce took his hand trustingly spoke much louder.
He didn’t expect to see the kid ever again, and in fact, would be glad if he didn’t: the only way their paths would cross would be because of something like this, and the kid already had a tragedy to last him a lifetime.
Still, the image of the boy clutching his father’s coat prevailed on the edge of his mind, resurfacing at four in the morning, at the time when thoughts like that usually come to pay a visit.
“Of all the cities in the world,” Sarah muttered when he called her at five in the morning. “Honestly, Jim.”
He couldn’t explain it either. But the rain on his windowpane sounded like a friend and there was a new donut shop on the corner that he wanted to check out and then leave without buying anything. He had seen where this cop/donut thing goes and it isn’t pretty, but he did like donut shops.
Few weeks later, Pennyworth came by to see Loeb, and brought Bruce with him. Jim wasn’t quite sure why, the precinct should be something closely associated with the worst night of the boy’s life, but the kid seemed fine, if a little lost in the business of the office. Then, the kid turned to see him and nodded in a greeting. It was beyond strange, but it wasn’t a bad surprise.
Jim moved to stand up, then rethought and untangled the gun and the holster, locking it in his desk’s drawer. The place itself was probably hard enough to take in, no need to add to this.
“Coming by to pay your tickets?” he asked the boy, getting a confused look in response. “That’s why most people come by here in the day.”
The kid smiled, finally, slow and hesitant, but a smile anyway. “Alfred drives our car. I don’t think he had ever gotten a ticket in his life.”
“People sometimes surprise you,” Jim muttered, but nodded. Pennyworth really didn’t look like someone who would give in to the joys of running the red light.
The kid wasn’t exactly shy, but his voice was quiet and just a little tentative, when he asked the usual questions, about putting on the siren and the car chases. Jim told him last week’s best story, the one about an old lady hitting Stephens over the head with her umbrella, for making her pull over because of her broken taillight.
The kids always asked the same questions, about the squad cars and sirens, about badges and guns. All the kids in his family, distant cousin and his brother’s daughter and her friends, always the same drill. Only thing they asked about, wanted to see, and Bruce didn’t, was the gun.
Jim was suddenly very glad he had the forethought to hide his piece.
He was quite aware that the entire precinct was studiously acting as if they were not paying them the slightest attention, he wasn’t stupid. He also knew that growing up in the city where everyone knew pretty much everything about the Wayne family was going to be damn hard on the kid. Would be anyway, even without all this, but that would be a cakewalk considering with what awaited him now.
It was fifteen minutes of this, tension in the room beginning to need that proverbial knife, but fortunately Bruce didn’t notice. By the time Pennyworth came out of Loeb’s office, Bruce had almost exhausted his line of questioning and was now busy turning the badge in his hands. Pennyworth’s arrival immediately changed the room’s status quo, everyone tried to look even more busy.
From the look of it, Pennyworth wasn’t buying it. Neither was Jim, but he at least knew those people and their typical tells.
“It’s Alfred,” Bruce corrected his greeting with a childlike insistence and Jim smiled slightly, accepting the returned badge. He kind of liked the kid, it wasn’t just about trying to comfort him anymore, he genuinely enjoyed that moment of conversation.
It was not that he disliked kids; he adored his brother’s daughter and liked most of the kids that weren’t absolute menaces, but still, this was new. Maybe it was the matter of timing, that he had recently lost a chance for a marriage and a family, but he didn’t think it was about Sarah or unrealized possibilities. It was about the fact that he kind of really liked that kid.
Of course, it didn’t matter all that much, because, again, chances of running into Bruce Wayne ever again were slim. Maybe when the kid turned sixteen and got a car he would be coming by to pay his tickets, maybe then.
Of course, proving that Jim Gordon was wrong about a lot of things, he got a phone call from Pennyworth three weeks later.
“This is Alfred Pennyworth speaking. We’ve met some time ago, I work for Mr. Wayne?” the man said politely and Jim almost snorted. Like there was any need for the introduction, as if the accent wasn’t a dead giveaway. Still, maybe some people in this town took phone calls from well-mannered British butlers seven times a day, and the introduction was necessary.
“What can I do for you, Mr. Pennyworth?”
“What are your plans for Christmas, Mr. Gordon?”
Of all the things he had expected… not even the ballpark. Not even the same state, or, to be honest, the same continent.
He ended up going, of course. Going back to Chicago wasn’t the best thing he could come up with right then, things with Roger were still tense, and there was of course Sarah… And celebrating Christmas with Chinese takeout, in his empty rented flat, with that one rat that lived in the walls for company was not a glamorous plan either.
There was all that, but what convinced him, really, was Pennyworth taking a long pause before he muttered that this was going to be the first Christmas for Bruce without his parents, and maybe having Jim there would make the house less empty.
It was low, and it was transparent, but damn it, it was well played.
He dodged the invitation from Stephens, telling him he’s thinking of going to Chicago after all, and he gently turned down Thelma’s invite by saying that a friend had already invited him. It was a tangled web, and he felt just slightly guilty about it, but, well.
The Wayne Manor was even more impressive when you saw it up close. Impressive and formidable and just that little bit scary, even for someone who just came by for one evening and almost managed to get lost on his way from the foyer to the dining room next door. Imagine living here, imagine being a kid in here, who had just lost his parents, who now looked over the house from a large portrait over the fireplace. Haunted houses were probably a little less intimidating.
“You came!” Bruce exclaimed, running down the stairs. Jim shuffled his feet with some embarrassment; he certainly didn’t deserve the excitement he caused, but he allowed Bruce to grasp his hand and drag him further inside. “You have to see the tree!”
The evening passed quickly, and would always be a little bit of a blur when Jim thought upon it later. Possibly the fault of Alfred’s egg nog.
And it was ‘Alfred’ now, after the fifth correction from Bruce Jim had given in, and accepted the invitation to cross to the first name basis with the man.
Bruce all but passed out by eleven, once he came down from the sugar high and the constant chatter, and Alfred had Jim carry the boy upstairs, while he guided the way. Jim would suspect a plot to get him more involved, if there was still a need for suspicion; Alfred had confirmed all of his plans ten minutes later, after he generously filled Jim’s glass with very fine single malt.
“He seemed better today,” Jim muttered as they sat down in the library, after his vague attempts at leaving had been dealt with and flatly forbidden.
“I fed him chocolate and candies,” Alfred said flatly, taking a sip of his scotch. “Not the best didactic method, I admit, but it worked for the day. Tomorrow is another matter.”
“Let me guess, you’re out of candy,” Jim tried, mostly to fail badly. He sighed. “What’s this about?”
“I fed him chocolate, and hopped him on sugar, but that wasn’t all. You were here, he likes you. He needs someone in his life he doesn’t feel like hiding in his room from.”
It felt like too much. He had his job, and he had his life, even if there wasn’t much of it right now. He wouldn’t trust himself with a responsibility for a bowl of fish, and here was Alfred Pennyworth, trying to rope him into looking after a child’s emotional wellbeing. It wasn’t too much, it was just really insane. What did Jim Gordon know about kids?
“I’m sure there’s a lot of people who he could turn to.”
“Not really,” Alfred shrugged, looking away, eyes fixed somewhere on the frame of the portrait, as if he couldn’t look further up, couldn’t look the painting in the eye. “He talks to Rachel, sometimes, but she’s lost and confused, just moved houses and schools, and she’s just a kid, like he is.”
“He has you,” Jim insisted, watching the liquid in his glass splash against the sides as he turned it in his fingers.
“And he will. But I may not always be here. I knew Bruce’s grandfather. I know you’ve been trying to work out my age, detective,” he smirked and Jim didn’t correct him; it wasn’t detective yet, maybe never, with the state of the force, but that wasn’t the point now. “And you can’t invest everything in just one person, you just can’t. He needs people in his life, but he doesn’t trust them. He trusts you.”
“That’s a horrible idea,” he pointed out, just for the record, raising his glass slightly.
It was a horrible idea. Of course he was going to let himself be dragged into this. He probably made that choice months ago, telling a frightened boy that everything was going to be okay. Now he had to make sure that would be the case.
Things settled into a routine of sorts quite quickly, effectively turning Jim’s life upside down, except not really.
Bruce went back to school, once the press’ interest slowly subsided, and the paparazzi stopped camping in front of the school. Every two or three days he would call Jim, matter-of-factly giving his report about the day’s events, recounting everything, from his school subjects to the lunch food in cafeteria and the general badness of it.
Every week, Jim would make a trip to the Palisades, and spend half a day at the Manor, for no real purpose but to listen to the same stories he had already heard over the phone all over again. He would play chess with Alfred, and then give in to demands to play against Bruce, who turned out to be a chess shark, somehow winning against both of them.
“Kids today,” Alfred said, shrugging, barely containing his pride. Kids today indeed, Jim knew whom to blame, really.
Stephens called him on his mysterious disappearances quite quickly, cluing in about two months after the whole thing started. He accused Jim of dating someone in secret, and Jim amused himself for a good hour by the thought of introducing Alfred as the main cause of his Saturday absences. Then he run that thought again, and freaked out a little himself.
“It’s family stuff,” he told Stephens instead. “No woman involved, I promise you.”
“Good, because Jenny has that friend…” That was the first in a long string of bad set-ups and blind dates, pushing Jim into reconsidering the introducing Alfred idea, but he gave it up as quickly as he thought about it.
It took until April for the first break in the routine. Jim came home after his night shift to find Bruce sitting on his doorstep, leaning against the doorframe, eyes closed as if he was asleep.
“What the hell are you doing here?” he asked, and winced, but it was too late to take the ‘hell’ part back. “Did something happen?”
“I didn’t go to school today. Alfred drove me there, but I just got on the bus.”
It was not the answer he expected, but it was something. It was also very bad, because considering the strict rules and regulations of Bruce’s school someone had probably already called Alfred, who could just be turning the entire city upside down.
“Come on in, we need to call Alfred and tell him not to worry,” Jim said, searching his pockets for the key and letting them both in. “Why didn’t you go to school anyway? Was it about some test?” he tried, and got a look for his trouble. Of course, Bruce could pass most of his tests in his sleep, and going by the notes Alfred got from school, apparently he sometimes did.
“It’s Mom’s birthday today,” was not the answer Jim was expecting. Well, shit.
He nodded. “Sit anywhere. I’ll call Alfred. Do you want something to eat?” No one could tell him avoidance didn’t work if you tried to make it work.
Bruce shook his head at the question and obediently sat on the couch, awkward and nervous, with his back straight. Jim sighed and took a moment finding the phone number for the Manor. Alfred picked up before the first ring, which was obviously the sign of Apocalypse, and the fact that he had been waiting by the phone, possibly pacing. Jim had never saw, nor could he imagine, Alfred pacing, but that was exactly what he was probably doing.
“He’s with me. Skipped school and came straight here.”
“I can come by to pick him up in ten minutes.” In this traffic? Not if he didn’t have a chopper… oh, wait, he probably did have a chopper.
“No, it’s fine. I’m off shift already and I can drive him home later.”
When he disconnected, Bruce had relaxed just a tad. Jim could understand that; he’d like to be as far from his mother’s house as possible on such a day.
“How did you even know where I live?” Jim asked, shaking his head. It was always him going to the Manor, never the other way round. He didn’t mind, really, but his flat was not the best place to have guests over.
Bruce gave him a look. “I have my sources,” he said seriously, and Jim had to smile. The kid’s voice was rougher than it should be, as if his throat hurt. He must have been crying, as his eyes were still reddened and his tone raspy. And now he was sniffing, as well.
“Well, fine. Just don’t use them for evil,” Jim said flippantly and picked the phone up again. “Maybe you’re not hungry, but I am. It’s been a long shift. I’m ordering some Thai, do you want anything?”
This is roughly how he ended up eating Thai and watching cartoons, Bruce Wayne slowly nodding off with his head against Jim’s shoulder.
“Jim?” Bruce started, during a cartoon car chase that Jim was becoming slightly interested in, much to his puzzlement. He looked away from the screen immediately, however, as it was the first time Bruce had called him by the name, his voice groggy and small.
“Yes?” he asked quietly, but no answer followed, just Bruce burying his face further in Jim’s shirt as he drifted off to sleep.
It wasn’t exactly a situation he had ever envisioned himself in, but it wasn’t bad, he thought as he reached for the blanket to cover them both, letting Bruce have the much needed rest for the while.