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Title: Two in the bush.
Author: Munnin
Rating: PG-13
Verse: Mended Wings. Previous chapters:
Continuity: sequel to
Bird in the hand
Characters: Superman, Jim Gordon, Alfred, (Dick, Bruce.)
Disclaimer: No ownership, no profit and no offence meant. Everyone is of the age of consent in their country and period of history
Author’s notes: 100% organic. May contain minor flaws and imperfections that beta-treated slash wouldn’t.
Bingo card: AU. Alternate History: Personal life of a character changed.
Masterlist here.

Summary: After making a foolish mistake, Superman seeks the council of a man who seems to know the Bat better than most. Sequel to
Bird in the hand.

Jim Gordon lingered on fire escape of his airless apartment, nursing a smoke in the frigid air. He promised his wife he’d give up but the last cigarette of the night was the hardest to let go of. Those few minutes he spent looking out over the city before turning in was a chance to put his thoughts in order, to put aside the trash of the day and sleep with a quiet mind... at least that was the theory anyway...

He cupped his hand around the cigarette, sheltering it from the icy breeze as the little red dot flared. “You shouldn’t be here.” He muttered as he breathed out slowly to add his smoke to the city’s already polluted air. “I don’t know what the green shit was but I’d be willing to find myself some if you here to try again.”

“I meant no harm.” Superman muttered, utterly dejected as he floated just out of beyond the Captain’s reach. “I only wish to learn the truth.”

Gordon eyed the slightly pathetic figure for a moment. “And what truth is that? ‘Cause if you’re looking for his identity, you’ll get no help from me.”

Superman shook his head slowly. He didn’t need a name now. He knew the man’s heartbeat, the modulation of his voice. A voice that right now, was comforting a child, stroking his hair and whispering words of protection and protectiveness. “I have misjudged him.” Clark bowed his head. “I came here because we believed he was a menace.”

Jim chuckled darkly. “You and your righteous League.”

“We were misinformed.”

“You jumped to conclusions.”

Clark breathed a sigh of regret. “Yes. As did I when I saw the boy. He’s so badly hurt...”

“The Bat'll look after the lad. That’s what he does.”

“No.” Superman cut him off with a raised hand, trying to find the words. “Not that... not only that but before... the boy’s legs...”

Gordon nodded slowly, taking one last drag of his smoke before stubbing it out on the rusting rail. “Always suspected there was more to it. All that armour. That and the way the Bat keeps watch over him.” He looked up at the hovering hero, his eyes reflecting the sick sodium glow of the street lights. “You thought he did that didn’t you? You think he would hurt that lad?” He spat the words like bullets, bitter and disgusted.

“We had heard terrible things-”

“Well you were wrong!” The old cop growled. “There isn’t anything he wouldn’t do to protect that boy. Loves him like a son, which he may well be.”

Superman bit his lip and said nothing. The boy’s heart has the slightest arrhythmia, nothing dangerous but most likely congenital, making it improbable the two were related. The thought made Clark feel worse. The Batman took in a crippled child and loved him as his own. Too selfless an act for the monster he’d been sent to hunt.

“Look I get it.” Gordon muttered, tempted to light up another as he misread the hero’s expression. “I’ve got a daughter roughly the lad’s age. As a father I don’t much like the idea of the boy tangling with the criminal element of this less than pristine city but the streets are safer with them around. The city’s safer. I wish there was another way but they can tackle the problems in ways I can’t even dream of from the precinct. I sure as shit pray there comes a day we don’t need them but it ain’t today.” He looked up at Superman. “You understand?”

“I do.” Clark wavered, his expression preoccupied. “If you could, will you convey a message to him?”

“I don’t exactly have his private number but I can tell him when I see him next.”

Clark bit his lip again. “Please tell him he has my apologies and my respect. No member of the Justice League will enter his city without his permission. I regret my failure deeply. I only wish...” He looked away for a moment, unconsciously glancing in the direction of the manor. “He is a man I could have called friend.

The cop watched him gravely, remembering the way the Bat had gritted his teeth at Robin’s pained little whimper as he lifted the lad into the car. “I doubt he’d say the same.”

Superman nodded, just as gravely. “Then I have much to do to earn his respect...and his forgiveness. I thank you Captain Gordon. Your help has been invaluable.”

“Wish I could say the same.” Gordon jerked his head towards the horizon. “Now get gone before he changes his mind about nailing you to the tower with that green glowing shit.”

“No less than I deserves.” Clark muttered mournfully as he drifted towards the clouds.

Gordon slipped his lighter back in his pocket and collected up the cooling butt, tossing it into the coffee can in the corner. “Hope you got all that.” He muttered; wondering, not for the first time, how many bugs the Bat had planted in his place.

In the cave, Alfred smiled quietly and set the recording aside for later, perhaps when Bruce was in a more receptive mood.

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September 2017


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