Of all ways Jim Gordon wanted to spend his Saturday night, this was certainly not one of them. An evening off with a glass of scotch, now that was a nice Saturday night. Or even going out to a bar with Harvey, vowing not to talk about work. Ordering Chinese food and watching TV was a good option, too. Yet here he was, stuck in a hotel room with Oswald Cobblepot, sitting in awkward silence.
“You’re sure the threat was meant for me?” he asked for approximately the fifth time in the last two hours.
“You are the mayor, aren’t you?” Jim replied, scooping up the television remote and clicking the power button. “It specifically mentioned the mayor.”
Oswald, still standing awkwardly by the window, turned halfway toward him. “You know I have people who can root out this…person and deal with them accordingly, right?”
Jim shrugged one shoulder. “I’m only following orders, Oswald. If you want me to leave, I can call Harvey to take my place.”
“I think I’d rather take my chances with this mysterious threat alone.”
Jim turned to meet Oswald’s gaze. “I thought you were going to try to tone down your criminal activity now that you were the mayor?” Oswald, illuminated by the fading sunlight in the window and the city lights behind him, lifted his chin and sniffed. “Isn’t that what you promised me?”
“Promises can be bent, James,” Oswald replied stiffly. “Besides, this person is threatening my life. If he isn’t…taken care of…other people will assume it is safe to come after me.”
Jim sighed. “He will be taken care of, Oswald. By the police.”
“Please,” Oswald exclaimed, turning back toward the window. “You and I both know that most of the GCPD would love to see this maniac succeed.”
Jim didn’t answer; he didn’t have to. Oswald was right – most of the GCPD had been more than interested in the threat against the mayor, though their interest petered out when they were told that Oswald was going to receive police protection until the man (or woman) was caught. Jim was the only cop who didn’t refuse to keep the mayor safe.
In spite of his rocky and antagonistic past with Oswald, he was a cop first. It was his job to serve and protect, after all, no matter who it was.
“You still have…friends,” Jim replied leadingly, “who can keep their ear to the street and listen for any rumblings, right?”
Oswald pursed his lips in his direction. “Of course I do.”
“It might be best to call them and have them on alert,” Jim answered. “I think we can safely say the GCPD will be…lackadaisical in their investigations without me to oversee it.”
“My knight in shining armor,” Oswald muttered sarcastically, pulling out his phone and sending a quick text. Jim rolled his eyes with a chuckle. Admittedly, of all of the citizens of Gotham, he had been Oswald’s knight in shining armor far more than anyone else. A troubling pattern, but an amusing one.
Oswald snapped his phone closed and surveyed the little room. “So…how are we going to entertain ourselves, Detective? I confess, you aren’t always the best conversationalist.”
“You wound me,” Jim replied flatly.
“What would you usually do on a stakeout?” Oswald asked, pulling the chair out from the minuscule desk in the corner and sitting on it, his cane resting against his thigh.
“Usually Harvey gets donuts, coffee, and chili dogs,” Jim shuddered. “But that gets old fast.”
Oswald smirked, pulling his phone from the inside pocket of his vest. “So, what would you prefer to have at your stakeouts?”
Jim, engrossed by a terrible commercial for an unnamed cleaning solution, shrugged. “I dunno. Chinese food would be less horrible to smell. Harvey and his chili dogs are bad for your respiratory system in a closed off car.”
“Duly noted,” Oswald muttered, typing out another text.
“What is?” Jim asked, turning halfway back toward Oswald, who snapped his phone shut and smiled innocently.
“Hmm?” he asked.
“I said, what’s duly noted?” Jim pressed. “What did you do?”
Oswald held up his empty hands in surrender. “I have no idea what you mean, Detective.”
Exactly what he meant was revealed an hour and a half later, when a knock came at the door. Immediately, Jim was up and out of his seat, his hand on his gun, motioning silently for Oswald to get behind the wall that would obscure him to anyone outside. Oswald rolled his eyes, but obliged, knowing better than to contradict Jim when he was in detective-mode.
Carefully, Jim unlocked the door and let it swing open, leveling his pistol at –
Edward, who was standing on the other side of the door with multiple bags of what Jim quickly realized was Chinese food. His eyes immediately fell to the gun, pointing at his chest. He raised his arms a little, laden as they were, and quirked an eyebrow at Jim.
“Good to see that you’re actually doing your job,” he sniffed, holding out the bags. “Please let Oswald know that I have cancelled all of his meetings for the next two days to give your precinct time to catch whoever is threatening his life.”
Jim, with nothing else to do but take the bags of food, nodded dumbly and let Edward stalk away, and turned back to Oswald, who smiled, chagrined.
“You told Edward where you were?” he exclaimed, exasperated. “It was supposed to be a secret!”
“Edward is trustworthy, Jim,” Oswald said firmly, holding out his hand for one of the bags. “For me, anyway,” he amended, seeing the reluctant sneer on Jim’s face. “Besides, we needed food, and we can’t exactly order it and give a random delivery boy the opportunity to find your little…safe house.”
Jim ignored him, too busy emptying the bags of food that were somehow fuller than he originally anticipated. “Did you have Ed buy alcohol too?” he asked incredulously, holding up a bottle of scotch.
“Actually, he just picked it up from behind the bar at the Iceberg Lounge,” Oswald shrugged. “I figured if you were going to have to be stuck in a room with me all night, you might as well get a good drink out of it, you know?”
“You act like this is a terrible ordeal for me,” Jim said, reaching deeper into the bag and pulling out two glasses and a bottle of red wine. “I’m assuming this is for you.”
Oswald took the bottle, surveying the label critically. “Come now, Jim, let’s not be modest. This was definitely not how you wanted to spend your evening. Surely you had plans with…what was her name? Valerie Vale?”
Jim didn’t even ask how Oswald knew her name; it was in his business to know everything. “Believe it or not, getting your girlfriend shot is a quick way to make sure she doesn’t want to be your girlfriend anymore.”
Oswald popped open a container of Chinese food and pulled out a pair of chopsticks. “If a bullet wound could scare her off, she was weak sauce anyway,” he remarked absently, pulling out a carrot and discarding it.
“Most people aren’t used to being shot,” Jim pointed out, reaching for his own container of food.
“Perhaps you just need someone who is,” Oswald said absently, his attention focused on removing another carrot from the fried rice he was eating.
“Maybe you’re right,” Jim acknowledged thoughtfully. Then – “You don’t like carrots?”
Oswald grimaced. “I hate them.”
“Pass them over,” Jim held out his little carton. “I love carrots.” Oswald quirked an eyebrow at him, like this little tidbit of information truly delighted him, and picked up a carrot with his chopsticks.
“Open your mouth,” he commanded, holding up the little orange bit.
“Oswald, you’re going to miss,” Jim said, almost sternly.
“Open your mouth,” he insisted.
Against his better judgment, Jim opened his mouth, watching with fascination as Oswald adjusted his grip on the chopsticks, calculated the distance with his eyes, wound up, and tossed the carrot. It bounced off his nose and landed in his outstretched hand, where he popped it into his mouth.
“I demand a re-do,” Oswald protested at Jim’s smug smile.
“What kind of vegetable do you like?” Jim asked, digging around his little carton with his fork. Oswald watched him dig with a curious look on his face. The furrow in his brow relaxed, making him look far more like the umbrella boy Jim met years ago, not the busy and tired mayor of Gotham.
“I like broccoli,” he said tentatively.
“Cool, I get one shot with the broccoli, then you get a shot with the carrot,” Jim explained, scooping a small chunk of broccoli onto his fork. “Open your mouth.”
“No way,” Oswald said, clamping his hand over his mouth.
“Oswald, fair is fair. Open your mouth,” Jim said, holding up the fork. “That’s an order.”
“I’m not a cop, you can’t order me around!” Oswald argued. “If anything, I can order you around.”
“Mr. Mayor, open your mouth,” Jim said, the corners of his mouth twitching. “It’s a matter of life and death.”
“Oh come on, James,” Oswald said, dropping his hands from his mouth. Hurriedly, and with poor aim, Jim took his opportunity and flung the piece of broccoli at him, smacking Oswald square in the cheek. “That was a terrible shot.”
“No fair, ref, the target was moving and won’t stop talking,” Jim said, already reaching into the carton for another piece. Oswald laughed, the first full laugh Jim had heard from him in a while. It provoked a smile of his own.
“Housekeeping is going to be finding pieces of broccoli for weeks,” Jim said from the ground, where he was peering under the bed, looking for rogue pieces of the vegetable.
“But not carrot,” Oswald pointed out. “Because my aim isn’t abysmal.”
“Gloating is unattractive, Oswald.”
“So is hitting me in the face repeatedly with broccoli, but I’m not complaining,” Oswald retorted, lounging back on the queen-sized bed triumphantly. “While you’re down there, pass me the wine.”
Without looking up from his task, Jim reached over to the paper bag and pulled out the bottle of red wine, passing it up onto the bed. “I think I found all of the broccoli.”
“Great, now come up here and have a drink,” Oswald demanded.
“Bossy, bossy,” Jim muttered as he stood, taking the offered plastic cup Oswald held out to him. “Where did you get this?”
“Bathroom,” Oswald shrugged, taking a sip of his own cup.
Hours passed comfortably, with lazy talk about things that didn’t matter. They avoided topics like Lee, like Ed, anything that would ruin the new, easy rapport they had. Jim was surprised that he and Oswald could have a conversation for this long without picking a fight, but the more they talked, the more he realized how much they had in common.
If they were on the same side of the law, they very well could’ve been friends.
But weren’t they friends? Oswald was always quick to point out their apparent friendship, and beyond the troubling cycle of questionable favors, they did go out of their way to protect each other. Hadn’t Oswald gone to Arkham to keep Jim out of jail? Hadn’t Jim helped Oswald get revenge for the death of his mother?
“Oswald,” he said suddenly, cutting off whatever Oswald had been saying. “Do you think, if I wasn’t a cop, and you weren’t a crime boss, that we would have been friends? Real friends?”
Oswald glanced down at his cup, long empty of wine and now with just a sliver of scotch. “I think you’ve had too many drinks.”
Oswald sighed heavily, bringing the cup to his mouth and finishing what little drink he had left. “Truthfully, Jim? If you were a little more honest with yourself about who you are, I think we could be friends as we are.”
Jim furrowed his brow. “I don’t understand.”
“You always try so hard to be good,” Oswald said with almost a sneer. “And I understand that that’s who you want to be, and you have a good heart, but that doesn’t mean you have to restrict how you go about making change.” He sighed, turning halfway toward Jim. “More often than not, you come to me because you want someone to tell you it’s okay to get your hands dirty. I’m that person for you, I don’t mind it.”
“You seek out people who will tell you that your darkness is a disease, that it’s something that needs to be cured, but it’s not. Your darkness is what brings the light. Even at your darkest,” Oswald paused, his eyes searching Jim’s face, “Your time in prison, shooting Galavan, what you brought about was good.”
“I broke the law –”
“Jaywalkers break the law, Jim!” Oswald exclaimed. “You murdered Galavan because the system wouldn’t punish him. You blackmailed Loeb because he perverted the law. You broke out of prison to clear your name, and in doing so, you gave Puck one more sunrise before he died.”
During his tirade, his hand had come to rest on top of Jim’s, holding tightly to him, as if to impress upon him how much he believed what he was saying.
“You’re so convinced that you need to hate yourself for the dark things you’ve done, but if you accepted them, you’d be happier. If you accepted yourself completely, you would understand that you learned how to make Gotham a better place, even if that means dirtying your lily white soul a little.” Oswald shifting on the bed so that his knee was pressing into Jim’s thigh, sharp and insistent. “The Jim Gordon that loves Gotham so much that he’s willing to kill to save it is the Jim Gordon that is truly my friend.”
Jim searched the room for something to say, for the appropriate response, but found nothing that was satisfying. He let the silence stretch for as long as he could before sighing and turning back to Oswald.
“You love Gotham that much, too,” he pointed out quietly. “You’ve killed to protect her.”
“I kill for the people I care about,” Oswald said with a hint of pride. “I’ve always known that about myself; I’m not ashamed.”
“Like your mother,” Jim agreed. “Like Ed.”
“Like you, Jim,” Oswald pointed out.
He didn’t know what possessed him to do it, but before he could stop himself, he leaned forward, pressing his lips to Oswald’s cheek. Perhaps it was a show of gratitude, or perhaps it was an acknowledgement of what he and Oswald had done for each other.
“Sorry,” he said as he pulled back far enough to see Oswald’s cheeks flushed pink all the way to his ears. “It just seemed like the right thing to do.”
“Not quite right enough, James,” Oswald replied, tilting Jim’s chin upward just enough that he could press his lips to his. He was tentative, probing, waiting to see if Jim was going to pull away and act scandalized, maybe even explode in a fit of rage.
Instead, Jim hummed against his lips and scooted even closer, one hand reaching blindly for the bedside table, so he could deposit his cup, the other coming to rest at the base of Oswald’s skull. Once his other hand was free, he put it on Oswald’s cheek, gently tracing the edge of his cheekbone.
“You’re right, that is better,” he said quietly. Oswald, with his eyes still closed, released a breathy laugh.
“Then don’t stop,” he demanded.
“Mr. Mayor talking big,” Jim murmured, amused, dropping another kiss to Oswald’s lips before nudging his head up and pressing soft kisses to the tender skin of his throat. “Unless he’s all talk.”
Oswald made an aggrieved noise, affronted, and took hold of a fistful of Jim’s hair, just tight enough that Jim laughed. “Is that a challenge, Detective?”
“I think it is,” Jim said playfully, ducking down to suck on Oswald’s bottom lip for just a moment before leaning back to observe Oswald’s reaction. Before he could gloat in proper fashion, however, Oswald was pushing him down onto the bed and climbing on top of him, pressing Jim’s shoulders into the pillows.
“Challenge accepted,” Oswald whispered against his mouth, pressing his lips possessively to Jim’s, relishing in the hold Jim had low on his hips, his fingers pressing demandingly through layers of clothes.
Oswald wriggled down, making sure to press his hips against Jim’s, taking careful note of the way Jim’s own hips bucked up to meet him, and fastened his lips to Jim’s neck, carefully sucking a spot on the column of his throat, a possessive mark. Jim was almost too far gone to notice, his hands reaching down to cup Oswald’s ass, pressing their hips together again and again, murmuring commands and taunts into Oswald’s ear.
“Wait,” Jim said suddenly, sitting up, narrowly missing headbutting Oswald in the face. “What about your leg? How’s your leg?”
Oswald laughed, a breathy sound that barely had any weight to it. “It’s fine, I promise.”
“Nope,” Jim insisted, his hands holding Oswald in place as he bucked his hips and flipped them over. “Here,” he reached gently for Oswald’s bad leg and hooked it over his hip. “How’s that?”
It was good, almost too good, and as Jim lowered his lips to Oswald’s again, he rolled his hips into just the right spot and Oswald was gasping words of praise that were half formed into his neck. Jim pulled back, his eyes on Oswald’s. He rolled his hips again, in that same spot, and Oswald shuddered, his hands reaching for Jim’s hips, though whether he was going to still him or spur him on, he didn’t know.
“Tease,” he accused, and Jim laughed, heady and thrilled.
“Not for long,” he promised, reaching for Oswald’s belt. He managed to undo the belt and the button of his pants before his phone rang, startling them both.
“Dammit,” he muttered, rubbing a hand over his face. “Harvey?” he asked into the receiver. Oswald, immediately bored with the conversation, sat up far enough to start undoing the buttons of Jim’s shirt, his fingers tracing the soft curve of the muscles beneath.
“You’re sure?” Jim asked, his eyes on Oswald as his touch dipped lower, to the waistband of his pants. “Well, who called it in?”
Oswald paused in his ministrations long enough to look up at Jim, eyes questioning, before his hand deftly unhooked his belt.
“Uh…well, if the information – if the information,” he stammered, glaring down at Oswald, who smirked and reached for the button, “if the information is verified, then let’s call it a win.”
His hand settled gently on top of Oswald’s hand on his pants, stilling him. With a pout, Oswald ceased all movement and lied back in the bed, waiting for the call to end.
Jim snapped the phone closed and leaned forward so his hands were pressed into the mattress and he was hovering over Oswald’s face. “They caught the guys responsible for the death threats. A couple of Red Hood gang offshoots, apparently. They’re in custody and you’re safe to go home.”
“That’s good, right?” Oswald asked, his hands settling on Jim’s hips as the man didn’t move.
“Harvey did say it was safe to take you home,” Jim said thoughtfully, lowering himself far enough to press a kiss to Oswald’s forehead. “He didn’t specify when.”
“Loopholes in directives are very important,” Oswald said faux-seriously. “You should have a talk with him about that. Tomorrow, though, because you’re busy tonight.”
“You’re damn right I am.”