As he drove towards Gotham late the next evening Batman was surprised to see the BatSignal lit.
"Jim?" he called a short while later as he stood near the BatSignal.
"It's Chris," came the answer.
Batman stepped out of the shadows and turned off the signal. "Why?" he demanded.
"I needed to talk to you, and the others don't need to hear this conversation."
Chris suddenly wondered if this was how others felt when they talked to him. "The first night, in Gordon's office, you said I didn't owe you anything. If I had been able to bring in the man who shot your parents, would you think you owed me something?"
When Batman remained silent for a moment, Chris knew he'd gotten his point across.
But Batman didn't give in that easily. "You would have been doing your job, and I was doing my job."
"You didn't answer my question."
"We both know the answer. But that's the kind of debt that can't be repaid. That, between friends, doesn't need to be repaid."
"Allies might be a better word," Batman replied. Bruce Wayne had friends, Batman didn't. But he did have allies. A few select people who he trusted. Chris was one of those few people.
"Allies," Chris agreed, holding out his hand.
Batman extended his own hand. Rather than shaking hands they gripped each other's wrists in the ages old tradition of warriors.
"Killer Croc escaped from Arkam today. I'm going to need to focus on tracking him down. From your Team's record I doubt you'll need my help to deal with what's left of Two-Face's operation," Batman said. "But my resources are at your disposal if you need anything. . . now, or in the future."
"Thank you," Chris said. Considering the combined resources of Bruce Wayne and Batman, that was a very generous offer.
A few weeks later Team 7 was back in Denver, but the connection to Gotham remained. Barbra and JD emailed each other so often that both Dick and Casey got a bit jealous, much to the amusement of Barbra and JD. Some of Barbra's e mails were profiles Batman wanted Josiah's opinion on, and JD would sent profiles that Josiah wanted Bruce to look over.
Leslie and Nathan also stayed in touch.
"What has you smiling like the proverbial cat who just ate the canary Mister Wilmington?" Ezra asked one morning.
"I just arranged for a couple dozen roses o be delivered to Selina."
"The young lady you and Wayne were both so interested in at the restaurant?"
"Yeah. Seems like Bruce is taking her for granted. I thought someone else paying attention to her might remind him that he needs to pay attention to her."
A few days later Buck wasn't smiling. They were at Inez's bar. Bruce had sent her a ruby bracelet, and she wanted Ezra's opinion of it's value."
"Most impressive. I would recommend having it appraised and insured immediately," Ezra suggested.
Seeing the look on Buck's face, Chris smirked. "You really should have known better than to take on a guy with the fortune Bruce has, Pard."
Buck's only response was a glare.
A week later Buck got a call from Gotham. "Buck, it's Selina."
"Hi, Darlin'. I got your thank you note for the roses."
"They were beautiful. They are also part of what I wanted to thank you for."
"Part?" Buck asked.
"Yes. I'm guessing you sent them to help me make Bruce jealous. So he would pay more attention to me, and our relationship."
"Well, that and I always enjoy sending flowers to beautiful women," Buck teased.
"I wanted to let you know that it worked. Bruce isn't taking our relationship for granted anymore. I think you made him face the fact that I have other options than staying with him."
"Glad I could help."
"How are things with the lady who managed to steal your heart before I could?" Selina asked, in a teasing tone, though she was genuinely interested in his answer.
"Bruce sent her a ruby bracelet," Buck grumbled.
"That sounds like Bruce. His competitive streak sometimes gets the best of him. Anything I can do to help?"
"No, but thanks."
"I've gotta go. I'm meeting Bruce for dinner in a few minutes."
"We will," Selina assured him. "Don't be a stranger. You or the others. Bruce would never admit it, but he values the friendship he has with your Team."
"Yeah, well, don't tell him this, but we're all glad to have him as a friend."
"You're secret's safe with me," Selina assured him.
THE END. . . . For Now. . .
A/N: Trecebo, THANKS! Glad you liked the conversations. Sorry about the story having so little action. I have to admit, I much prefer writing character studies and relationships to action. . .