Dent threw the coin, holding Jimmy in his iron hard grip.
Barbara held on to Babs as tight as she could-- they were both shaking, crying, utterly terrified, lost.
She couldn’t reach Jim.
And she couldn’t reach Jimmy.
She had no weapon and just knew it was the end.
The end of her son.
The end of them all.
Then Batman -- whom she had believed already to be dead as well -- appeared from the shadows and crashed into Dent with all his strength and threw all three of them over the edge and into the abyss…
Barbara sat up abruptly from her nightmare, tears streaming down her face, and her hands covering her mouth because she knew she had screamed just the same way she did when it had actually happened.
“It’s okay,” A soothing voice and a reassuring hand on the small of her back brought her back to reality.
She took a few steadying breaths, then turned and looked at her husband, who was barely visible in the dark room.
“Where is he now?” Barbara asked out of the blue.
Gordon hesitated for a split second, then answered huskily; “I don’t know.”
Of course they both knew of whom they were talking.
Batman had saved them all in that night six months ago.
He had saved them at the cost of his own freedom. He was a hunted vigilante. Barbara got a knot in her stomach whenever she thought about it, or whenever Babs or Jimmy asked their father about him. Somehow she couldn’t get rid of the feeling, that it was her fault. Her fault because she trusted Ramirez -- because she wasn’t more suspicious.
She sighed frustrated and lay back beside Jim, snuggling into his arms. Again he assured her, “It’s okay.” He didn’t sound sleepy at all, though.
Barbara frowned. She didn’t believe Jim when he said he didn’t know where Batman was. She somehow had the feeling there was something going on between her husband and Batman. She just couldn’t figure what exactly. It was like they were linked with a mental chain or something. Whenever Jim needed Batman’s help in the past, he was there.
Of course Gotham needed Batman. He was the best thing that happened to the city for years.
Barbara wasn’t even worried so much about Jim any more when he was on duty. She felt that he was safer with Batman around.
Since the bat disappeared, everything felt odd. He was hunted, yes. But somehow it felt as though he was still having a watchful eye over Gotham.
“Jim,” Barbara turned on the bedside lamp, so she could look at her husband properly. His blue eyes could hardly betray her, especially without his glasses on. “You do know where he is, don't you?”
Gordon blinked, his hand coming up to her face to caress her cheek and just as he was about to say something a raspy voice answered from the window sill, hidden by the curtain, “I am right here.”
Barbara jumped out of the bed just as the wanted figure slid inside the room.
Coffee was the resolution.
Barbara had been so confuse and in shock that the vigilante had been waiting on their window sill, that she had fled into the kitchen to compose herself.
Just to do something she started to make coffee. She didn’t care that it was in the middle of the night, she only made sure to make no noise, so the kids wouldn’t wake.
Her hands were shaking. She had nothing against Batman, he saved her family after all. But having him in such close proximity was really unnerving and somehow intimidating. Especially since she couldn’t figure out who was beneath that cowl.
She heard the men speak lowly in the bedroom, and, for some reason, she didn’t find it odd in any way. Batman had the habit, to be in unusual places at unusual times.
Barbara leaned against the table, studying Jimmy’s drawings of Batman which were pinned to the fridge with magnets…magnets of bats…
She sighed. Why were her men drawn so much to that giant dark figure?
“Hmmm...” The big shadow appeared in the doorway. “Do I smell coffee?”
Barbara just nodded, since her voice chords somehow didn’t function.
“Hm, very good idea, honey.” It looked like Jim was shoving the Bat further into the kitchen, when he came up behind him, in his PJ bottoms only. He still wasn’t wearing his glasses.
“Please take a seat, B…” he stopped, bit his tongue and then added, while taking three cups from the shelf, “Batman.”
Barbara and the dark knight had looked sharply at him when he did that little intake of breath. But Jim just ignored them and started to pour the black liquid into their mugs.
“Milk, sugar?” Barbara had finally found her voice and set both jars on the table.
“No, thank you.” Batman looked up to her from his chair, a slight smile turning up at the corner of his mouth. “I like mine black.”
Barbara couldn’t help but smile back, settling down on the edge of one of the two free chairs between them. She saw Jim smirk but trying to hide it while sipping his coffee too, black, of course.
While she poured herself some cream and stirred it, she heard the Bat sigh contently, holding his steamy mug in both hands close to his lips.
He had his eyes closed.
Barbara swallowed, glad to discover, that there must be a very human being beneath that impressive cowl, cape, and armour.
She sat back a bit more relaxed in her chair.
Jim took her hand and kissed it. “Thanks.”
“Oh, it’s okay.” She didn’t know what else to say. She kept wondering what this all was about but didn’t have the courage to ask.
One more thing unsettled her. She wasn’t used to her husband with nothing on but his Pjs or even without his glasses when they had a visitor. Not that she minded but he must be very comfortable with the Bat around.
“Can I have a little more, please?” a low growl asked, startling her out of her musings.
Just when she was about to rise and get the coffee again, Jim had already brought it over, refilling everyone's cups, settling his left hand on Batman’s shoulder while doing so.
Batman turned his head, looked up at Jim and only mouthed, “Thanks.”
Barbara could almost feel the thick tension in the air. What the hell was going on here?
Only to break the odd silence she asked, “Why are you still watching over Gotham? Isn’t it too dangerous for you to do so with all the dogs and extra security around, and everybody hunting you?”
Batman glared at her and sipped his coffee silently.
That glance alone made her feel utterly stupid and she muttered, “I’m sorry.” That man was just too much for her.
But he shock his head slowly, shared a short glance with Gordon, and then answered very thoughtful, “Because she’s my first love.”
Barbara did a double take. That sure wasn’t the answer she was expecting. Batman’s glance bore right through her -- watching her. It was as though he had her in a mental grip. She couldn’t look away; the black stare wasn’t terrifying but somehow hypnotic.
He sat his mug down and startled her by reaching for her right hand. His glove was surprisingly thin and she could feel the warmth of his hand right through the special material.
Jim took her other hand and she pulled her glance away, with much effort, to look at her husband. “What’s going on here?” she finally got the question out, barely audible, though.
“I want to thank you for taking such good care of Jim and your kids,” the Bat's voice came from her right. She turned her head again, baffled.
Her mind was racing and she came up with the only possible answer, the one sentence she had always wanted to tell him since that faithful night when the Joker was captured. But she never got the chance. She squeezed his hand and whispered, “No, I want to thank you.”
And then the oddest thing happened.
Batman took her hand to his lips and kissed her knuckles very gently.
She gasped. It was as though a spike of electricity shot through her whole body at once.
What the hell?
He looked up again, his black eyes not threatening at all, rather full of warmth she would have never expected from the dark knight.
Jim stroked her bare arm with his fingertips. His touch just as tender as the Bat’s. Again, she jerked her eyes away from the Bat’s intense stare to meet equal intensity in her husband’s now dark blue eyes.
“James?” she barely got the one word out. Jim smiled at his full name, that was meant to be an accusation but miserably failed. He turned her hand wordlessly and started to cover her palm with feather light kisses.
She felt one gloved hand against her cheek and her head was turned around again slowly. She was completely befuddled to find Batman’s face was way too close to her own.
But she just couldn’t jump up and run as she knew she should. She was glued to her chair, briefly wondering if Batman used some kind of magic on both of them.
His mouth is beautiful, was the brief thought that entered her mind just before the kiss.
Yes, Batman was kissing her.
His soft tongue licking her lips first, begging her to open up and without thinking she obeyed. In the back of her mind she also registered, that Jim was licking the side of her neck.
The tip of Batman’s tongue was now touching hers tentatively and she moaned without wanting to. His left gloved hand was stroking her jaw and she felt Jim’s warm lips on her shoulder.
Batman drew back, not completely but enough for the kiss to stop. She almost wanted to kiss him back but was able to stop herself and just sat motionless, staring into his eyes.
Out of the corner of her vision, she saw that the men were holding hands.
“What’s going on here?” she breathlessly repeated her question from earlier and finally leaned back in her chair and started to observe them from a distance.
What odd behaviour for two grown men.
Her husband allowing someone else to kiss her in front of his very own eyes. And the strangest thing of it…she liked it.
She liked both. The incredible soft kiss of the most wanted figure in the city in combination with being watched by her husband.
The men’s hands were entwined on the table. But they both hadn’t let go of her. Batman was still stroking her cheek, Jim caressed her upper arm. Nether seemed able to speak.
“Barbara,” Jim started, then changed his mind and kissed her as well. It was a different kiss. Familiar, leisurely, hot; and even more so, since she now felt Batman’s mouth on the back of her neck.
God, what had those two planned?
For the first time, she hoped she wasn’t dreaming. She still clutched her mug in both hands, not able to move.
After Jim broke the kiss, the next impossible thing happened and Barbara thought she’d fall off her chair and faint.
The men stared at each other for a few seconds and then bent forward across the table and started to kiss, still holding on to her.
She gasped in utter shock and disbelieve.
She wanted to jump up but they both held her down. So she had to watch.
It wasn’t their first kiss. That much she could tell.
It was devouring. Powerful. Challenging. Hard.
And she couldn’t tell who was in charge.
As they kissed, their grips got tighter. Not bruising but definitely stronger. She couldn’t free herself.
And, she finally admitted, she didn’t want to. The utter jealousy she felt at first, gave away to a warmth she’d never experienced before. She realized, they both wanted her there. They didn’t want to hide from her. They wanted to involve her in whatever relationship they were having.
She was surprised that her husband’s grip was almost as hard as the Bat’s. She smiled and stared at them, fascinated. Being that close, she could hear them breathe. It got more and more irregular and hitching. But it looked like they just couldn’t stop.
Jim’s upper body was covered in goose flesh; his nipples hardened and stood very erect.
For the first time the thought occurred to Barbara, that part of her husband must be gay and she swallowed a big lump in her throat, shaking herself.
Suddenly she heard a noise from upstairs, someone had opened and closed a door.
Of course the men had heard it, too.
Their kiss slowed down. It looked like they just couldn’t part hastily. The end of it was the most erotic thing Barbara had ever seen. They parted their lips, but their tongues were still playing and dancing.
They closed the kiss with the softest of touches of their lips.
Barbara could almost feel the love that was spreading between them.
Her heart was hammering in her chest, not only from watching the kiss but from fear, Babs or Jimmy could come down. But the noise from above had subsided already again.
Both men looked at her. Jim’s hand was shaking.
She was sure her whole face looked as red as a tomato.
She was just about to say something, when Batman leaned over again and licked her mouth briefly. “I’m sorry, but I fell in love with your husband.” He murmured.
She turned towards Jim, he was still breathing somewhat heavily but took her hand to his mouth. “I still love you Barbara, but he’s…I need…” Jim had to look away, clearly embarrassed.
“We want you with us,” Batman rasped. “What do you say?”
Barbara stared wide eyed at him, pulling her hands free from both of them and finally stood.
She started to pace, shaking her head.
Her whole body was on fire from all the sensual images and feelings. She tried to think clearly, though.
One part of her wanted to hate both men.
The other part wanted to love them.
How could they dare and betray her for weeks?
What did they do behind her back?
On the other hand…she was still madly in love with her husband, father of her kids. She couldn’t send him away just like that…plus having a lover such as the mighty Batman surely had his benefits. She could already tell by the incredible hint of a kiss he gave her. There must be someone very special beneath that cowl.
She turned to face them. They sat like silent little boys, playing with their mugs. That almost made her grin.
“So you’re what? Gay, bi?”
“Sorry, looks like bi,” Jim just murmured into his cup.
“No, that’s not what I meant. You don’t have to be sorry, it’s not your fault.” She was always open minded though.
Batman said nothing, just stared at her. It looked like he was willing her to say yes to their offer.
He was very impressive, sitting there in full body armour at her table. It looked like the chair was way too small for him.
Barbara suddenly was aware of the lighter sky outside. The sun would be up in an hour or so. She knew Batman had to disappear by then. She gave herself a mental kick.
It was now or never.
She was surprised by her own fast decision. But loosing Jim or gaining two lovers…there wasn’t much of a decision to make, or was there?
The men showed no intention of hiding. They still held hands over the table.
“Okay.” Barbara took Jim’s other hand and he stood, walking around to where Batman was sitting. He let himself be pulled up by her too.
He smiled broadly, not so Bat like.
Again, she thought, what an inviting mouth. And there was something else. Something nagging on the back of her brain.
She knew that smile.
She felt Jim’s arm around her waist, he was pressing her closer to himself and to Batman as well.
“We gonna try this wicked thing?”
She just nodded and kissed them both briefly, knowing they had to part any minute now.
Then she felt Batman’s hand on her ass when the men started to eat each other again, both their arms around her anyway. She just sagged against them, embracing them as good as she could, taking in their body heat, their closeness, their power, their love.
Life in Gotham was still dangerous. But her fear of it had almost vaporized.
Nothing would break their circle; she was sure of that.
And sooner or later she might figure out who was the owner of that sexy smile beneath the cowl. She just couldn’t take in more unique information at the moment .
F I N