Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Thomas Alverez, Bruce/Jim, Alfred Pennyworth, Lucius Fox, Renee Montoya
Genres: Angst, Hurt/Comfort, Drama
Rating (this chapter): PG-13
Warnings: Aftermath of violence
General Summary: They always thought that it would be Batman, not Bruce, shot down in the streets of Gotham.
Chapter Summary: Exhaustion sets in after a horrific day.
Date Of Completion: June 11, 2009
Date Of Posting: June 14, 2009
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC and Warner Brothers do, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1379
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: It seems that I can’t write Bruce/Jim without it turning into a trilogy! ;) I was starting to revise the second part of my other trilogy, Wings Of Darkness, but this plot bunny has been nibbling incessantly, so I finally gave in. When the Muses talk, I listen! Enjoy! :)
Written for my 2009 DCU Fic/Art Tabloids Challenge. :)
The entire series can be found here.
"FRIEND OF THE FAMILY"
The surgeon, Dr. Alverez, took off his scrubs cap and said, “You’re Mr. Wayne’s family?”
“Yes,” Alfred said staunchly. He tightened his hold on Jim’s arm fractionally.
“Mr. Wayne was very seriously injured by the bullet, and lost quite a bit of blood. However, he’s young and strong and survived the surgery.” Relief showed on the other men’s faces. “He is still in critical condition and is in Recovery. Once we move him to ICU, you can see him.”
“Thank you, Doctor!” Alfred said, his voice steady, but Jim could hear the immense relief.
Alverez nodded and left, Jim suddenly hugging Alfred, who returned the hug after a startled second, and then Lucius was next.
“I know that he’s in critical condition, but Bruce will pull through,” Lucius said confidently.
Suddenly, Jim felt lightheaded and abruptly sat down on the couch.
“Are you all right, sir?” asked Alfred.
Jim nodded. “I…I’m just happy that Bruce made it through surgery.”
Alfred patted his shoulder. “Of course, sir.” He straightened up. “We should go home and get some rest. They will not allow us to see Master Wayne for several hours. We must be well-rested because he will need our strength.”
Lucius nodded but Jim said, “Can’t we just see him for a minute?”
Alfred considered, then said, “Come with me.”
Jim and Lucius followed the Englishman out to the nurses’ station. Alfred said, “Nurse, may we please be allowed to see Master Bruce Wayne for just a minute?”
“I’m sorry, sir, he’s in Recovery…” She brushed back a lock of brown hair.
“Yes, but we just want to see him. For the briefest of moments, then we shall go home and come back tomorrow morning.”
She considered, then said, “All right. Are you family?”
“I was Master Wayne’s guardian after the death of his parents.”
“Of course. And you gentlemen?”
“Friend of the family, and CEO of Wayne Enterprises,” said Lucius.
Jim hesitated. “Friend of the family.”
“Then this gentleman can come for a moment, as he is the closest thing to family Mr. Wayne has.”
Jim wanted to protest, but realized with a sinking feeling that he had no legal status. Alfred looked at him sympathetically. “I will be right back.”
Lucius was also sympathetic as Alfred left with the nurse. Jim tamped down his sense of frustration. Even if he was a woman, he might have had a problem since he was only dating Bruce and wasn’t engaged or married to him, but he suspected allowances would have been made for a girlfriend.
He felt awkward but tried to keep his thoughts on Bruce having pulled through instead of the sting he was feeling.
Alfred returned ten minutes later and said, “He is quite bruised and bandaged but breathing well.”
Relieved, Jim said, “Thank you.”
Alfred nodded. “Commissioner, I wish you would come to the Manor for the night. We could come back together tomorrow.”
Jim thought of his empty house and nodded.
“I’ll be by later,” Lucius said. “There will be a press conference in the morning, but after that, I’m here.”
“Excellent,” Alfred said.
They said their goodbyes, and Jim called in to Montoya as he got into the limousine. Alfred started the car and Montoya gave a crisp report.
“The mayor has scheduled a press conference for 10:00 tomorrow morning, sir.”
Jim frowned. He didn’t want to leave the hospital, but he could take a cab over to the Precinct and meet the press, then return.
“All right. Could you e-mail your report? I’ll look it over in the morning before I go to the hospital.”
“I will, sir.” She hesitated. “How is he, sir?”
“He survived the surgery but is in critical condition.”
“That’s half the battle!”
“Yes.” Jim’s voice softened. “Thank you, Renee.”
“Any time, Commish.”
He smiled as she hung up.
“All well, sir?” Alfred asked.
“Pretty much. I’ll have to attend a press conference at the GCPD at ten tomorrow, but I’ll be back right after.”
“Very good, sir.”
Comfortable silence fell, Jim suddenly exhausted. He glanced down at his suit. Ruined for certain, and did he really want to keep a suit stained with Bruce’s blood? He shuddered.
“It will be all right, sir,” Alfred said softly.
Jim was grateful for the older man’s presence, and understood how he had helped Bruce all those years ago.
“I knew Bruce before I knew Batman.”
Jim nodded. “I met that little boy on the worst night of his life, and even though years later I met Batman, I still had a piece of Bruce in my heart.” He laughed ruefully. “I suppose that sounds awfully sappy.”
“Just truth, sir.”
Jim smiled as he leaned back and closed his eyes.
The Manor was quiet, as always, and Jim gratefully ate a light supper of turkey sandwiches and salad with Alfred. His stomach had been growling, and the food helped.
Upstairs, Jim hesitated outside the master bedroom.
“Would you prefer a guest room tonight, sir?”
Jim shook his head. “I’m fine.” He went into the bedroom.
It was the same as always: dark furniture and a huge, comfortable bed with black silk sheets. Dusk was starting to settle outside the large windows, and Jim drew the drapes after admiring the sunset over the water.
He removed the suit, carefully laying it on a chair, then took a shower, scrubbing and cleansing, then took out a pair of Bruce’s pajamas. His lone pair was in the laundry, because it was rare that he needed pajamas here. Blushing slightly, he crawled into bed, smelling Bruce’s scent on the pillows, wrapping his arms around it as his head rested.
The little boy stared at him with wide, hurt eyes, small body trembling slightly. He looked small in his father’s coat, and Jim gently stroked his face, saying, “It’s okay, it’s okay,” trying to impart security to a boy whose world had just been shattered.
His heart went out to this boy, who needed him. No one else cared in the chaos of the Precinct, people dashing here and there and trying to wrap their heads around the fact that the King and Queen of Gotham, Thomas and Martha Wayne, had been brutally murdered in a dirty alley, leaving their shell-shocked Crown Prince behind as the lone survivor.
He glanced down, trying desperately to figure out how he could help. He looked back up and saw a beautiful young man, still hunched over, his father’s coat now a black cape.
“It’s okay. It’ll be all right, Bruce,” Jim said softly, stroking the side of the young man’s face. Bruce looked at him and smiled a little, pain in his eyes, and then he looked down, Jim’s gaze following.
Blood was seeping out from Bruce’s chest, staining a pearl-gray vest and white silk shirt, and Bruce reached for Jim’s hand, weakly grasping his fingers and beginning to slump over, Jim grabbing him and holding him close, heart pounding as the blood soaked into his uniform and then it was a suit and the world spun out of focus…
Jim sat up, dragging a shaking hand across his face.
He tried to get his pounding heart under control and the door opened.
“It’s okay, Alfred.” He wrapped his arms around himself.
Alfred came into the room. “It’s all right to have nightmares.”
“I know.” Jim was still shaking.
Alfred sat on the edge of the bed. “Would you like some water?”
At Jim’s nod he rose and went into the bathroom, returning with a glass of water. Jim drank it gratefully, smiling a little. “I didn’t mean to be a little boy asking for water after a bad dream.”
Alfred smiled. “It’s fine.” His smile faded. “I’ve had quite a bit of practice.”
Saddened, Jim handed the glass back to Alfred. As the butler was getting up to replace it in the bathroom, Jim shot a hand out and caught his arm.
“I am going to see him tomorrow.”
Alfred nodded. “We’ll make sure of it.”
After Alfred left the room, Jim settled back down under the covers and gradually fell asleep.
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