Alfred closes the doors to the drawing room. The heavy wood slides shut without a sound. It's already too quiet for Jim's liking, and now even the thudding tick of the monstrous clock in the hall is muffled. He feels fidgety and stamps down on the urge to shift his weight by paying a little more attention to the furnishings. It’s all polished wood and leather trimmings and there doesn’t seem to be a speck of dust in the place. A framed photo of the late Waynes draws Jim’s attention. Perched on a small side table, the picture and its simple silver frame seem out of place--too modern for the rest of the room. Too normal.
He grew up working class, which is to say that the walk-up hadn’t exactly been on the wrong side of the tracks but losing his church shoes when he was seven is a memory he’ll never forget. Things got better as he got older, even though a DA that doesn’t take bribes doesn’t do that much better in Gotham than a beat cop who keeps their nose clean, but while Jim’s learned a lot about how the other side lives since Barbara, it doesn't mean he feels like he belongs. Fake it until you make it, his old man would say. He suppresses the urge to spin a standing globe that’s probably worth more than he makes in a year. "Kid minds his manners at least," he remarks.
Alfred moves to the sideboard, his steps even and purposeful, and he gestures at what Jim guesses is Scotch. Also probably worth more than he makes in a year. With a drive back into the heart of the city ahead of him, Jim declines with a gesture. Alfred pours himself a single healthy glass then stoppers the decanter with more force than Jim imagines the crystal has ever seen before. How long, Jim wonders, did it take for the guy to be comfortable running a place like Wayne manor.
Alfred draws in a heavy breath, composure flawless again. "I'm not worried about his manners. I’m worried about the young master's well-being."
"Children are remarkably resilient," Jim offers. The words sound flatter than a pancake. An agonizing number of seconds go by, each one counted off by the awful dampened tick of the hallway clock.
Eventually, drink still untouched, Alfred extends a hand. "Thank you again for your concern, Detective. It means a great deal to Bruce."
"You should bring him around to my place sometime," Jim says, the words tumbling out of his mouth before he can stop them. He swallows, suddenly wishing he’d accepted a little something to wet his throat. His pulse leaps. There’s no going back on the offer without coming off as a Class-A jerk. Later, Barbara's gonna laugh at him about it. He can still feel the warmth of Alfred's firm handshake in his palm as he fishes his notepad from his pocket to scribble down an address. "I mean, Barbara and I could feed you both, and we can play a couple rounds of Yahtzee or something. Normal stuff. The kid could probably use a distraction. You, too, I imagine."
When Alfred replies with a simple, "The offer is much appreciated," and they turn to discussing how to handle the details of Bruce’s desire to help the rescued street kids, Jim figures it's a polite brush off.
A week later, Alfred calls him out of the blue. A week after that, Jim's kicking himself for not minding the calendar. Sheepishly he breaks the news to Barbara about their dinner guests.
"You don’t actually live here, you know," she teases. “Why not your place?”
He's not embarrassed. Well, maybe a little, even though Bruce would probably be too polite to say anything about the matchbox Jim can afford on his salary alone and Alfred’s likely seen worse. “‘Cause nobody delivers to that part of town. Barbara, sweetheart, it'll be fun," he says, mostly convincing himself. "You like kids, right?"
She swats him with a take out menu. "Call Gino's. Tell Paula to fix the usual times two and throw in some dessert.” Her nose wrinkles. “And then shower and put on a fresh shirt, you still smell like the wrong end of River Street."
“Yes ma’am,” he says. She swats him again. Jim chuckles and starts dialing instead of doing what he really wants to. There’s no time for that before dinner.
When their guests arrive Jim shouts a hello from the bathroom as Barbara invites them in. He’s midway to a half-windsor when he says fuck it and strips the tie, leaving his collar open and casual. It’s not like the offer was formal...or a date.
Only it ends up feeling kind of like one. Jim's mostly dated women--well so has Barbara--but first dates feel just about the same in his experience. And the evening has all the hallmarks. He’s tongue-tied and feeling like he needs to impress, turning the first fifteen minutes into a study in awkwardness full of stops and starts of conversation. Barbara does a good job of kicking off an engaging topic whenever there’s a serious lull, but ultimately it's Bruce who finds a common thread, guiding them towards a discussion of the recent renovations near Mooney's end of town. The kid pipes in with observations gleaned from the papers, though he mostly listens with a level of attention that’s too keen to be fake.
Alfred comments sparingly at first, becoming animated only when talk turns towards the Wayne's charity efforts, a subject that he both clearly knows a great deal about and of which he cares deeply. That carries them through to dessert and a game or two, and Jim’s more than happy to let Barbara talk about the who’s who in Gotham’s charitable arts scene between rolls of the dice.
It strikes Jim somewhere around ten o’clock that Bruce has hardly smiled even when--after several glasses of wine--Barbara and Alfred started playfully accusing the other of cheating. But maybe the kid’s always been the solemn type. Growing up without any siblings in that great big house, it isn’t a stretch to figure that Bruce has always spent a lot of time in his own head.
Jim puzzles it over, quietly observing, and lets the conversation and banter flow around him.
The evening winds down an hour or so later, about the time that Bruce’s yawning becomes impossible to hide. He’s got a glazed look in his eye even before an offered blanket sends him listing into the cushions. Alfred insists on helping tidy up so Jim lets him pack up the board games while Barbara gathers empty glasses and scattered plates. In the kitchen, Jim enjoys a bit of solitude as he loads the dishwasher. He’s about halfway done when Barbara comes in, and his ears go hot the moment she lines up beside him and says, "No wonder you invited them over."
Jim throws in a handful of silverware and rinses off his hands. "I have no idea what you mean."
Barbara's arms slip around his waist, her chin settling on his shoulder. "Uh-huh. One of these days you're going to need to learn to lie better.” The edge of her thumbnail scrapes along the seam of his shirt. “Or did you really mean it when you said you didn’t have a type? Because I hate to break it to you, Jim, but mister ‘obviously ex-military hard on the outside soft on the inside’ out there is a type.”
Abruptly, the door to the kitchen swings inward and Jim startles. "The lad’s out cold--” Alfred pauses with one foot on the tile. His gaze darts around the space. “I hope I’m not interrupting.”
Jim eases up, but Barbara replies with, “Oh, I hope you are,” before he can even hope to say something remotely neutral. He glances over his shoulder to try and see if she’s doing that thing where she bites her lip to look sexy. Based on the lift of Alfred’s eyebrow, Jim assumes she is. He does a poor job at smothering a smile.
“Miss Kean, you've been a lovely hostess,” Alfred says, very diplomatically. He tugs down the front of his waistcoat, as if that will lend propriety to the situation.
"It’s Barbara," Jim says to correct him. He wipes his hands dry and folds the dish towel carefully. "We're at least two bottles past Miss."
"So we are," Alfred agrees. He straightens his spine as Barbara hops up to perch on the counter, the hem of her dress slipping halfway up her thighs. Her heels clatter to the floor, one before the other.
She leans towards Jim, murmurs into his ear and follows the suggestion with a dragging kiss along his cheek. "I-- uh--" Jim clears his throat. He locks eyes with Alfred even though it makes his collar hot. He wonders what’s ticking in the man’s head, if it’s anything like the gutter-filth that’s starting to roll around in his own. "You know I can't let you drive for at least another hour. And I'd feel better if you maybe--"
"I'm about to proposition you," Barbara says to Alfred, cutting Jim's babbling short. She rescues her glass from the counter, a few swallows of a good cab still left in it. She sips at it delicately. "If you hadn't already gathered."
Jim shrugs when Alfred's gaze slides to him, though he notes that it's laced with amusement more than it's a search for approval. The heat ceases to burn his ears and drops into his belly, spreading as warm and sweet as the wine had been. He recalls the feel of Alfred's hand in his own, the dry rasp of calluses on his palm and the raw strength of his grip.
"Go on then."
"Well," Barbara purrs, "I was saying to Jim that you look like you'd taste even better than the cannoli. Fancy a blowjob, Mr. Pennyworth?"
"Let's get back to calling me Alfred, shall we, Miss Kean."
Jim rolls his eyes. He's never been fond of this sort of flirting. He props his hip against the counter and waits for the two of them to get it out of their system.
"I'll take that as a yes then, Alfred." Barbara stretches a leg out to run her foot along the outside of his knee. "Out like a light you'd said. Works for me. I can be quiet when I need to."
A jolt of lust hits Jim when Alfred snaps a hand out to catch Barbara's foot. She leans back, teeth on her lip again, her legs spreading wider. Christ, she's beautiful. As beautiful as she is brilliant. For every bad break he gets on the job, he’s the luckiest man in the world to come home to her.
Her bare foot braces on the inside of Alfred’s arm, toes digging in at the inside of his elbow, and her dress slides all the way up to the peak of her thighs. A bit of lace flashes as her knee wavers from side to side. She runs her hands through her hair to pull it away from her face. "Million dollar question: My mouth or his?"
If Alfred is surprised, he hides it well. His fingers skate up the back of Barbara's leg and he draws closer. His eyes never leave her face, and that’s a lot of willpower with the way she shifts her shoulders and her cleavage deepens. "It's all the same to me. Lady's choice."
Jim runs a hand over his skull. Well, that's that.
Barbara puts her hands to Alfred's shoulders and hooks her legs around his, pulling him close. "Jim looks really good with a dick in his mouth," she whispers, pleased as punch. "In fact that's how we met."
"Long story," Jim says, lying through his teeth, but somehow telling the dirty details to Alfred seems more embarrassing than taking the guy back to his ratty apartment.
"I'll look forward to hearing it someday. But now it seems best not to keep the lady waiting." Alfred doesn’t even look his way, just goes with it, matches the smile on Barbara’s face and gets even handsier.
It’s like being in a room with a pair of hungry wolves. Jim presses his lips together, determined to not be the lamb and hold his own. He lines himself up at Alfred’s hip, reaching under Barbara’s thigh to place a bold hand on where Alfred is sitting a little thick in his trousers. “You gonna give me some room there, pal?”
"Best ask your girlfriend. She seems to be the one in charge of all this.” The low rasp of Alfred’s voice hooks right into the space behind Jim’s navel, but not as much as the way Barbara pushes the guy to arm’s length and turns to him to say, “Down boy.”
“Good lad,” Alfred comments, as Jim slides into the space between them. He sinks to his heels, only the tiniest bit of worry buzzing in the back of his head that Bruce might wake up and wonder where all the adults had gone. The cabinets are cool against his spine--steady where his fingers aren’t. His heart thuds in his chest, the echo loud in his ears. The nudge of Barbara’s toe against his ribs says hurry up, but he takes his time, easing Alfred’s fly open between glances up to where keen eyes keep watch on him.
Alfred's stance widens as Jim peels his pants and shorts down, fabric held taut against strong thighs. He's uncut and not hard, not yet, but he gains an inch before the brush of Jim's breath becomes the wet touch of tongue across the skin dimpled at the tip of his dick. He fills out further as Jim sucks him deep and Jim closes his eyes to savor the sensation. He keeps his lips crushed to the base of Alfred’s cock as it gets harder and harder, swelling to occupy the whole of his mouth and then swiftly becoming too much, forcing Jim to retreat and content himself with just the half.
Long nails scratch lightly over his scalp, then a palm, gentle so as to feel the feather brush of his hair as it grows out from its most recent buzz. It really is almost a mirror of the night they met, only there are a lot more clothes involved right now and a lot more light to see by.
There's no strobe of expressions as he looks up; he’s treated instead to the sight of Alfred feeding Barbara a finger and though he can't quite see it, he can picture how it must look. How her cheeks would draw tight while each withdrawal gives fleeting glimpses of the pink of her mouth behind the very respectable neutral lipstick she wore tonight.
"Should've said both," Alfred says. He sucks his finger clean and leans in to kiss her.
The shift in his center of balance sends him fucking deeper into Jim's mouth and Jim jerks back reflexively, bringing his hand into things to play it safe and oh--oh yeah--that was the best idea he's had all day. His grip does what his mouth alone hadn’t, baring the whole head of Alfred’s cock for him to suck on. A firm squeeze and little tilt of his head to drag his tongue along the ridge and Alfred reacts, the soles of his shoes skidding another inch or two like an invitation to get to know the low hang of his balls.
Jim splays his own legs wider, shifting his weight from a crouch to settling on his knees. He stops worrying about the bang of the cupboards at his back and takes that offered handful. He's never been much for a little tug and tickle himself, but it works on Alfred. The gorgeous cock filling his mouth turns to steel and Jim enjoys the hot slide of skin as he works hand and mouth together and stops paying quite so much attention to keeping his teeth clear. Alfred doesn't seem to mind when he gives his tongue a rest and lets rhythm and pressure do all the work. Like this he can hear Barbara sucking on Alfred tongue, and Jim closes his eyes at the appreciative sound that builds up above him, rolling like thunder in that deep, grating voice.
"Shhh. Can’t have your charge waking up and finding you like this,” Barbara says.
“This time of night when the boy’s out, he’s out. Even these days.” Alfred’s words are slurred, not by the alcohol, but by what Jim guesses is a wet chasing kiss. The noise that Barbara makes and the way her knees pull close to bracket Jim means Alfred's done something she really likes.
He burns with wanting to know. Is it a hand in her hair, knotting into a fist at the base of her skull while their mouths find the right angle to fit together as deeply as possible? Is it a slow kiss laid at the pulse point in her neck? Or is it a hand brushing across her ribs near the scar there that’s sometimes ticklish and sometimes just gets her hotter? All the speculation leads like breadcrumbs towards picturing what the two of them would look like fucking. Jim aches at the thought.
He can smell her. She'll have long since soaked through those tiny little panties, a wet spot spreading almost invisibly on the black of her dress.
Jim pulls off, breathing hard like he's just run a marathon. His cock is bent painfully, trapped against his leg, but if he reaches down to adjust himself, he's just going to end up jerking off.
"Doesn't do anything half-way does he?" Alfred murmurs.
Jim answers before Barbara can. "It's a blessing and a curse," he says, and flashes a glance upwards before rubbing his face against Alfred's dick and mouthing a kiss near the tight grip of his hand.
Barbara's laugh is usually more champagne than smoke, but tonight it's sinuous and curling. "Get the nice man off, will you, baby?" Her hands slip down Jim's temples, palms coolly framing his face. If he could smell her cunt before, now the scent fills his world. He turns his head, licks the taste from her palm so it's heavy on his breath before he opens up for Alfred again.
She keeps her hands on him as he works Alfred's cock, fingertips lightly pressing to feel through his cheeks where his mouth is stuffed full. Alfred puts a hand on him too--a bracing hold atop his head that almost makes Jim wish his hair was still long enough to grab. His nipples are tight under his shirt--the bobbing rhythm he keeps draws the fabric over them again and again.
"Oh, that's it," Alfred says, a bucking jolt going through his stance when Jim starts really using his tongue again. "Keep on. Just like that. Christ that's good."
Pleasure roars through Jim's body. The warmth of it tinged with a little shame over how much a few kind words get him going. He fumbles one-handed with his belt.
A hand leaves his face and a moment later, Jim feels the cool weight of the dish towel draped over his shoulder. Alfred offers another quiet bit of encouragement and Jim can't stifle the sound that wells up in his chest in response.
"You really do like the man," Barbara observes. Dimly, between the effort needed to keep rhythm and not just bring himself off and forget to keep pumping his mouth, Jim registers her shift. She must be leaning forward to kiss Alfred again. Or biting his ear maybe, as she's fond of doing. "Jim's usually the quiet type. Handy in this sort of situation, but I would really love to ask him to make some noise right about now."
Jim doesn't make even a whisper of sound. Not because he doesn't enjoy indulging the things that turn Barbara on, but it's taking all he’s got not to be the one who shoots first.
"Do you--" the quaver in Alfred's voice and a hissing indrawn breath says Jim's not the only one on edge. "Do you care to take it in the mouth? You'd best stop now if you don't."
Barbara will have clenched up tight hearing that. Jim shudders with lust and thinks his options over for a hot second. He moves his grip on the base of Alfred's dick, giving himself another half inch or so to slobber on, and gets ready for the moneyshot. His lips feel numb, his jaw and tongue's aching, and even though he stops jerking it, it’s so damn good he still loses it first. Above him, Barbara whimpers, twists like she's aching to get fucked and then her fingers are back on his face. They're slick as they flirt around his mouth, slipping across his lips and then the knuckles he has clenched around Alfred thick cock. For a brief moment he can taste the salt of her and then all he can taste is Alfred.
Jim keeps a hand on him until he starts softening up, then he spits into the dish towel and hastily mops up the mess he’d left splattered on the tile. He fixes his fly as he stands, stretching out the muscles in his back and legs that say he’s getting a little old to be spending all his time on his knees. He wipes his mouth again on the back of his arm and grabs Barbara’s discarded wineglass, sipping as he watches Alfred thumb Barbara’s clit and leave a swath of sucking kisses along the graceful arch of her neck.
Jim likes the view, but he elbows Alfred aside as he finishes off the glass with one last swallow. “You’ll never get her to come just with that,” he says, and leans down to run his tongue across Alfred’s rough knuckle to where Barbara’s labia peeks out plush and wet around the edge of her panties.
“Need a little bit of everything, do you, darling?” Alfred muses. He hooks the scrap of silk and lace, pulling them aside for Jim and he flicks out a fingertip to keep stroking her as Jim licks right into her cunt. “Keep that mouth of his busy most nights, I suspect.”
They make a good team, he and Alfred, getting Barbara flushed and gasping without much work at all. His tongue and Alfred’s fingers switch places more than once, giving it to her hard and soft in turns. On a bed, she’d be sprawled and writhing, but there’s only so much room for her to move. Her legs shudder, and her hands grasp at him, at Alfred, at the smooth edge of the countertop.
When they switch places again, it’s Jim’s fingers wedged tight in her as Alfred sucks her off. Jim feels like he can hardly catch his breath. His face is soaked, tendon of his tongue scraped raw and stinging and maybe it makes him a greedy son of a bitch but Jim wishes it were still his face between her legs. He fucks her with the hard knot of his fingers and watches intently as Alfred pulls away from sucking her to use the point of his tongue.
She's close, Jim tells him, when she squeezes hard around his fingers and holds, softening only when the rough sound of her breath goes silent. He puts a hands in her hair, fisted near the nape of her neck--something she rarely gets to enjoy when she’s fucking someone's face--and that does the trick. Barbara comes hard, muffling a sound in the meat of her arm and Alfred doesn’t need to be told to keep his mouth on her until she’s twitching and panting, and sliding bonelessly off the counter to kiss them, one after the other.
The sudden silence between them is a lot more comfortable than earlier in the night. Alfred breaks the quiet with a bemused laugh. “Unexpected,” he says, smiling wryly, “but not undesired.”
“You can say that again.” Jim dutifully washes his hands and face in the sink and grabs a fresh dish towel from the pantry while Barbara claims a few more kisses from Alfred.
“I need a shower,” she states, her steps wobbly when she pulls away from him. She makes an attempt at fixing her hair, twisting it into a bun that falls apart almost immediately. Jim scoops an arm around Barbara’s waist before she slips past him and plants a fresh kiss on her bare shoulder. Tousled and freshly-fucked looks good on her.
“Go on,” Alfred says, snatching the towel out of Jim’s hand. “See she doesn’t trip on the way to the bathroom. I’ll finish cleaning up in here and check on the boy.”
“You’re a good man, Alfred.” Jim says it flippantly, but he means it in his gut. It’s such a rare thing in Gotham these days to feel like you can trust another person.
Without another word, Alfred makes himself at home and starts the water running again, gathering up the stray wine glasses in the sink. Any other guest and Jim might have insisted on leaving the mess until morning, but there’s something in the way that Alfred had joined them and is now silently shooing them out that says he likes making things orderly, likes having a purpose.
“He’s maybe almost as good as you,” Barbara says in Jim’s ear. She presses against his side like she wants him to know she’s still up for another orgasm or two. “Almost.”
Jim laughs quietly and ushers her out of the kitchen. Behind him, he hears Alfred tossing the take out containers into the bin.
Maybe in the morning he'll ask if they can do this again another time. It’s a nice feeling having the man at his back.