Soulmates are one in a million.
So, all in all rare, but not impossible. Jim doesn’t even personally know anyone who’s found their soulmate, but he’s heard of friends of friends and their life-changing stories and fairy tale happily ever afters. They’re stories he smiles politely at, not one he spends his free time longing for. He’s got nothing against them, but he can’t quite bring himself to want such a faraway, abstract concept when his Barbara Kean has her arms around him, all soft and sweet in his embrace.
Love is a little miracle of its own, one in a million or not. Two people finding each other, a connection. A choice. Jim doesn’t think the existence of soulmates is really any different.
There’s a fancy function of hers they’re missing, but he’s beat, all things considered, so he begs out. Barbara is understanding. She asks if he’s eaten, giggles at his answer.
“When I am Mrs. Gordon and you are here all the time, I’m going to put you on a proper, healthy diet,” Barbara says.
Mrs. Barbara Gordon. It has a nice ring to it, Jim thinks, as he kisses her and the two of them drop backwards into the sofa.
It turns out the Wayne murder isn’t a close and shut as he thought it was and all the worse when Carmine Falcone comes to verify this in person. He mentions Jim’s dad, and he hates the Don all the more for it.
“Gotham’s on a knife’s edge,” Falcone tells him, as if that justifies his dirty deeds.
Jim doesn’t see how fixings lies with more lies and feigning justice with crime can possibly save the city from that.
Gotham is his home. It was his father’s home. Jim feels a sort of responsibility for it he doesn’t think he can explain. Wearing this badge was supposed to mean something, and if he doesn’t uphold honor and justice, what hope does the city have in keeping its?
Jim believes in the individual - the rights of the individual, and the power of the individual. Because if people lose the belief that they can make a change, nothing will ever change.
It turns out Falcone’s not done with him.
When Harvey Bullock stops the car, he tells Jim he wasn’t being honest earlier. He was ashamed, is what he was. Jim tells him as much, and then he stops short. They’ve walked around to the back of the car, and there in his partner’s trunk is a man Jim recognizes as one of Fish Mooney’s. Pale skin, dark hair - he was holding an umbrella - he looks all the more sickly for it now, with a spot of blood on his face from a beating.
Jim barely registers the words - he knows whatever’s coming next is going to be bad. He wants to pull his gaze away from the condemned man’s eyes.
“This is the snitch.”
Jim does a double take. Him? What for?
“Falcone wants you to walk him to the end of the pier and put a bullet in his head,” Bullock says. “Then everybody knows you’re with the program.”
It’s kill or die - and not just Jim but, as Bullock points out, he’s next, and Barbara.
Barbara - can he kill this innocent bystander - no angel perhaps, but innocent here nonetheless - to save her? For her? He pictures her face, and takes the cloth and gun.
Jim’s mind is reeling - not confused, sharp. Planning his next move. He’s been in enemy territory before, and he’s always made it out alive.
He can do this.
“Please Mr. Gordon, just let me live.” A litany of pleas spill from the blubbering fellow as Jim shoves him along at gunpoint toward the end of the pier. He tunes most of them out, babbling pleas mostly, but he can tell Oswald Cobblepot is right when he says he’s clever. He’s astute. Has an eye for deception.
“Shut up,” Jim growls, grabbing him by the collar and - he must have grazed him by the chin, just a moment - a jolt of electricity shoots through him.
Of all of the times -
Oswald Cobblepot feels it too - it renders the chatterbox mute and his eyes widen in shock and that rouses Jim from his struck-by-lightning stupor into a panic as he forcibly turns the man around, adrenaline giving him the nerves to bite out:
“Don’t ever come back to Gotham.”
He fires, and drops the man under the pier, before turning to look back at his partner, giving nothing away.
He’s just exiled his own soulmate.
The next step is more complicated.
Barbara opens the door, her expression tears.
“My God James, I’ve been so worried,” she says, throwing her arms around him. She hasn’t seen him for over a day and has every right to be worried, but Jim isn’t sure he can make it all better. He feels like a zombie, as he shuffles coward into her embrace, and lets himself lean on her.
She smells the same, she feels the same. He loves her. This doesn’t change anything.
The fact that he’s just found his soulmate, only to - for all intents and purposes - kill him, doesn’t change a damn thing.