written by destinyawakened
It was everything or nothing, and Gordon knew it. There was no in between with Batman. You gave him your all or you gave him nothing. Gordon was not sure why that was; maybe it had something to do with Rachel after all, but that was a question for another time. Right now, all that mattered was that Bruce Wayne was Batman, and he was asking Gordon for a favor-- a promise that would change how Gordon lived every day. No... this was why he had tried so hard not to find out.
“Yes. Yes, of course,” Gordon managed to mumble, waving a hand at him, a gesture for Bruce to stop staring at him with those pleading hazel eyes. How could he say no? The man obviously trusted him, or else he would not have let Gordon find out the truth.
There was only silence between them, but it was not awkward or strange; it was comfortable, soothing. They had been watching the night life of the city wake for a few hours, and the sun had bled down the horizon until it disappeared completely. Gordon had not kept track of time, but he would guess it was close to eight now, and he knew their chance meeting would be coming to an end soon.
Beside him, Bruce took a deep breath and let it out slowly, jingling keys in his pocket. Gordon smiled at him, still reveling in the aftermath of their encounter just hours earlier. He wondered how he had never realized how attractive Bruce Wayne was. He was well-kept, manicured, handsome. Fake, Gordon thought. Yes, fake was exactly the word he kept hearing at the back of his mind. It was not a bad thing, though. No, Gordon saw the need for Bruce's appearance, even understood it better than anyone else ever would. No one was likely to suspected a dense, boozing, billionaire to beat criminals to a pulp every night.
“How do you do it?” Gordon asked as he took a few steps closer to Bruce, facing him.
Bruce moved his head to look at him, body facing out towards the city. “Do what, Jim?”
“This charade. Hiding. Don't you ever just want to be yourself?” The question spilled out faster than Gordon thought it, and he was a little ashamed. He expected Bruce to put up some defenses, make some excuses, even.
But Bruce just nodded. “Everyday.” He let out another sigh, kicked at a some loose gravel by his feet.
“No one else knows?”
“Alfred. Lucius Fox suspects, but will never admit to knowing.” Bruce looked at Gordon then, his eyes sad and hollow, just as they had been earlier. “Rachel.”
There, Gordon thought. There was that name he had been suspecting was behind every single action of Bruce Wayne and Batman the last two days: Rachel Dawes. The name seemed to linger tensely in the air, and Bruce said nothing else. Gordon wanted to give some words of comfort, but the sentiments forming in his thoughts did not seem to fit. He never knew a lot about Rachel's personal life and knew even less of her relationship with Bruce. Gordon felt saying anything would be an intrusion; when Bruce wanted to talk about it, Gordon would be there for him.
Bruce stepped over to where Gordon stood, taking him by the shoulders and gazing intensely into his eyes. “And now I have you.”
Gordon almost laughed. The words were a little sappy for his taste, but the look on Bruce's face suggested that he meant every word, sappy or not. Gordon gave him a slight smile, one that was hidden partially under his mustache. He patted Bruce's arm with his hand, feeling the younger man lean in to kiss him.
Their mouths met for a soft flutter. Bruce wrapped his arms tightly around Gordon, clasping his hands at the small of the older man's back. They stood forehead-to-forehead, gazing into each other's eyes, lips just barely touching. Gordon allowed an arm to envelop Bruce and placed a hand on the back of the younger man's head, holding him as close as he could. Their lips meshed together, soft and slow.
Their embrace was warm. Gordon --to his own surprise-- would have preferred to stay in Bruce's arms a little longer, but the younger man retreated an arm's length away. The fog on Gordon's glasses dissipated and he could see the gentleness in Bruce's eyes. He knew what was coming next, and a part of him hoped everything that happened today was just one big dream. If it was a dream, the other part of him hoped to never wake up.
“I have to get home,” Bruce whispered.
Bruce flashed a smile. “Suit's at the manor.”
Oh, he was going patrolling. It was not going to be easy to watch Batman run off every night to fight crime, now that he knew the man behind the mask. It changed Gordon's view completely. He could not be sure what Bruce was to him, or what he was to Bruce. He did know that he was going to worry all damn night about the man, even though he knew that Batman could very well take care of himself.
I didn't want to know.
Gordon shrugged and nodded his head, an approval or maybe just an agreement; he was not sure which he was really feeling. Bruce leaned in and kissed him again. It was a pleasant, loving kiss and Gordon felt his bones melt in the other man's grip. Bruce pulled away, and Gordon breathed a moan; he was not sure how much of this his body could take. He was getting too old for this sort of affair.
He knew that in this developing relationship, he was going to need to learn to share Bruce with Gotham City; she was always going to come first. It would not be as hard as he thought, and he vaguely remembered having asked Barbara to do the same for him years ago. Gotham City was, after all, the air Gordon breathed. He could not help but think of it as an intimate love affair; the three of them, wrapped up in each other for years, if not forever.
Well, at least until retirement. It was a nice thought to have, but not one he could count on any time soon.
Bruce was speaking again, but Gordon did not catch it. Bruce kissed him one more time, this time as if it were the last for a very long time. Bruce was radiating a mix of emotions: lust, care, and most noticeably sadness. He pulled away and gave a small endearing smile. Gordon watched the other man's defense falter. Bruce was letting Gordon see him with his shield down, unguarded. Gordon felt a twinge of sympathy for him, remembering for a moment when Bruce's parents died, and how very vulnerable and impressionable that boy had been then.
Oh, Bruce, Gordon thought. Every aspect of the young man's life was finally making sense. Why not don a bat costume and beat up criminals to avenge your parents' death? Sure, it was not exactly normal in any sense of the word. But why not? Gordon was starting to find it admirable, only adding to the already mounting attraction he had for Bruce.
And now Bruce was turning to leave, but Gordon caught him by the arm. Bruce turned his face to meet the older man's eyes. “Jim?”
“All this...today. It wasn't all just because you were lonely was it?” Gordon asked. He gestured to Rachel's grave not too far from them. Gordon knew grief could make even the strongest person lose control -- he had seen it many, many times before.
Bruce furrowed his eyebrows, biting his lower lip in thought before giving an answer. “No.” He looked at Gordon as if his heart had been ripped from his chest and stomped on. Maybe it was the wrong question to ask after Bruce so willingly expressed his deepest affection for Gordon.
And there Gordon was, yet again, feeling like an asshole. The blazing stare Bruce gave him made his skin burn in embarrassment. He really should learn to be less abrupt, but the interrogator in him would never allow that. Bruce looked away, hands reaching into his pocket for his keys. Gordon reached out and touched his arm, to show that he meant well, at least.
“Rachel was a lot of things to me, Jim. She was my oldest and dearest friend. She was my hope that Gotham would one day not need Batman. That one day I would not need Batman.” Bruce shook his head, a mocking grin on his face, one that resembled disbelief. “When she died...when Dent died...I knew everything changed. There are always going to be criminals like the Joker in Gotham City. Gotham needs Batman.” Behind the glowering stare, Gordon could sense the lingering, unsaid words on Bruce's tongue: I need Batman.
“Jim,” Bruce started again, “You're the only one I feel can understand.” It seemed he had something else he wanted to say, but he closed his mouth, silent.
Gordon did understand. He probably understood more than he cared to admit. Bruce was lonely but not in the sense Gordon had asked him about. Bruce was lonely because he had no one to share his life with; no one to come home to or share in his nightly patrol stories. No one who would understand the reasons he went out in costume and dealt out justice with brute force. Bruce wanted a normal life to balance out his alter-ego. Some way to still feel he was a part of society. The Bruce Wayne the media knew was far from the man standing next to Gordon. When he looked into Bruce's eyes again, he saw nothing more than complete trust.
Gordon nodded, but said nothing. There was not much you could follow up with after that. He felt suddenly awkward in his own skin, the urge to hold Bruce, and tell him that everything was going to be fine, and that he did understand. He wanted to tell him to just let go of everything, if even just for a little while. But the moment for that was gone, and Bruce was already walking back up the path past the graves towards the parking lot. Gordon followed, jogging catch up.
They reached Gordon's car first and Bruce stopped short of the driver's door. Gordon stood up against it, fiddling with his keys, aware Bruce was staring into him, just as he did when he wore the bat costume. It made him shiver in the surreality of it; to have Batman stare you down with out the cowl was unsettling.
Gordon wanted to apologize for bringing up Rachel. He wanted to apologize for doubting the younger man's intentions. But in Gordon's head it all made no difference; Bruce -Batman- could not be budged, he had control of the situation and Gordon was just along for the ride, for now.
“I'll call you sometime before twelve tomorrow. Maybe we could go for lunch?” Bruce's face was a sudden mask. Moments before he was somber and broody, and now he was giving Gordon a chancy smile. Gordon wasn't having it, and he knew better than to believe Bruce could switch emotions so easily. Always an act, Gordon thought. Just how much of Bruce Wayne was real, and how much was an act? The overt happiness he was projecting was undeniably fake, Gordon could sense it.
“Alright. I'll be at my office. I know you have the number.” Gordon keyed the lock on the door, pulling it open. Bruce stuck a hand out to stop him.
“Everything is fine,” Bruce said blandly, and he kissed Gordon sweetly on the lips and then his cheek, swiping a hand under his chin as he did.
Gordon wanted to protest, but Bruce had already turned to leave. He stalked away, hands deep in his pockets. Gordon watched until the darkness surrounded him and he disappeared. He slid into the seat of his car, started the engine and sat there. There were still questions he wanted answers for, but he knew to get them he would have to prod around gingerly.
The matter of Bruce having the sudden urge to tell Gordon his secret was still lingering in his mind. Why now? Gordon could chalk it all up to the man being lonely, but he felt there was more to it than that. There was something Bruce was not telling him, and Gordon was more than determined now to figure out what it was.
He put the car in gear, pulling out of the cemetery, and drove home. The night was still young, but he was not. He knew he could go on scheming of ways to get into Bruce's head, or he could just go home and have a good night's sleep for once. Knowing Gordon, it was going to be both.
But first, Gordon was going to call his children and bask in the warmth of knowing they were safe, and away from the never-ending hell-hole that was Gotham.