From here on out, there's TDK spoilers, so if you haven't seen the movie, don't read. It's really that simple.
I find the dynamic between Batman and Gordon fascinating, so I decided to investigate that a little further. So far the movie series has done a great job of portraying Gordon as he truly is - a strong, idealistic, yet worn-down cop - and I came out of the movie wanting to see more of him, especially now that he and Batman are "enemies." So here it is, set three weeks after TDK. Enjoy.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. All associated characters belong to Kane, Fingers, DC, WB, etc...
If there's anything Bruce has learned in the past year, it's that no matter what tragedies befall the city, Gotham high society will still party as if everything's bright and dandy. And so precisely three weeks to the day that Harvey Dent was corrupted and the Joker captured and Rachel Dawes killed, Bruce finds himself in the elaborate penthouse of a millionaire (billionaire?) who he does not know – indeed, never heard of – and who he does not particularly care to know about. But appearances must be made, especially in times like these. Batman would have an excuse not to show up, but Bruce Wayne, philanthropist and playboy extraordinaire, must make his rounds at all the finest parties, lest someone begins to make the connection between the mask and the man wearing it.
Somehow Bruce ends up in the company of two men he's seen in the newspapers who seem like the partying types. Fortunately, he has his chardonnay, so he's not completely alone.
"Bruce Wayne," says the tallest man. His mustache quivers as he speaks. "What, no Russian ballerina on your arm?"
"She couldn't make it," Bruce replies, wearing his grin like a shield. "They're in England entertaining the queen."
"Enough talk about women," says the stoutest man. Bruce thinks his name is Cobblepot. "I just escaped that gaggle of women over there. I wanted to kill myself after listening to them for five minutes."
"Agreed," says the tall man. "Tom Elliot, by the way. I think we met at the Dent fundraiser."
Bruce nods. "Of course. At the bar. Yeah."
"Tragic what happened to Dent." Elliot clicks his tongue against the roof of his mouth as if in disapproval. "I really thought he was going to knock this city into shape."
"Yes," agrees Cobblepot. "Just so tragic. I hate to think that criminals all over the city were probably celebrating his death. Not to mention Dawes."
Something inside Bruce clinches. He remembers a vague conversation with Lucius, in which the CEO had mentioned Cobblepot. Lucius had been suspicious of Cobblepot's business activities. It's all Bruce can do not to punch this bastard who was probably one of the ones celebrating Harvey's death.
"You two are friends, then?" he asks in lieu of a blow to the face.
"Oh yes," affirms Elliot. "Our families go way back. They used to say we were joined at the hip."
A fake laugh from one of the two. Bruce isn't paying attention any more.
"But can you believe that the Batman killed those cops?" Cobblepot is saying when Bruce finally tunes back in. "And I used to think he was such a hero."
It seems to Bruce that there's barely hidden glee in Cobblepot's voice, as if the Batman is done now, that no cop killer would have the balls to go around town cleaning up the corruption of the upper class. Bruce silently decides that Batman needs to have a look into Cobblepot's affairs.
"Yes," says Elliot. "If you ask me, they should catch him and hang him right there and then. He used to be tolerable, but now he's no more than a murdering vigilante."
It takes Bruce five or six seconds to realize the pair are waiting for his response. "Oh, yeah. I don't know about killing Batman, but I definitely think they should lock him up in county for the rest of the lunatic's life. There are too many freaks running around our streets."
The two nod their approval and begin speaking of something else. Bruce excuses himself and heads off to the bar. The chardonnay isn't company enough.
He's waiting for a martini when a familiar voice cuts through the air around him like a diving falcon over its prey. "Bruce Wayne."
"Oh," he says, smiling, and this time it's actually genuine. "Commissioner Gordon. What a pleasant surprise!"
"Ditto," says Gordon as he slides up to the bar and takes a seat. He looks tired, but Gordon has always looked tired. A two-faced crackpot holding a gun to his son's head probably didn't help. "I've discovered that when the mayor's biggest backer holds a fundraiser, the police commissioner is expected to attend. Needless to say that wasn't in my contract."
"At least you have an excuse. I'm just here because… I don't even know."
"You're expected to?" Gordon offers.
"Yeah, that's about it." The bartender returns with Bruce's drink, but he finds he's not thirsty. "How's the cleanup going?"
"About as good as can be expected. We've managed to get all the inmates from that ferry back into prison, and the Joker was successfully moved into a federal maximum-security penitentiary. I'd say he'd be a lock for the death penalty, but."
"He's insane," Bruce finished. "I noticed."
"Yeah. The new D.A. won't have to deal with that case, at least."
"Who's the new guy, anyway?" Bruce asks, fully aware that the new guy is a bulldog named Bullock who's well-meaning, if a little clumsy and overmatched.
"Doesn't matter, really. He's not going to live up to Dent's reputation."
"True. I really thought Dent was going to clean up this city."
"He was going to," Gordon agrees. "But then the Joker came along and everything went to hell. How do you deal with a guy that doesn't play by any set of rules whatsoever? That's not afraid of anything? Not even Dent could do that."
Bruce leans up against the bar and tries to be casual when he asks, "How did you guys catch the Joker anyway?"
"You don't know?" Gordon's looking at him like he's an idiot, which is the entire point. Mission accomplished. "Batman got him. Strung him up at the top of a building. The Joker was falling, but the Batman got him with some cable and left him there for us, and the Joker was laughing like it was the funniest thing in the world."
"Was this before or after Batman killed the cops?"
Gordon frowns. "Somewhere in the middle, as best we can tell."
"So Batman saves the Joker –" Bruce pauses to snort "– and kills some of Gotham's police force?"
"That's how it appears, yes."
"I don't think he was ever meant to be a hero," Gordon says. The burnt-down warehouse flashes before Bruce's eyes, Harvey dead on the ground. "I think he was supposed to be a guardian. That he'll always be a guardian."
"But he killed cops."
"Well," Gordon starts, but, as if realizing his position, he finishes lamely, "Yes."
"I think you're right, though," Bruce says. "He's a guardian of the city. I don't know why he killed those cops, but I'm sure he had a reason."
"I'll bet he did."
It occurs to Bruce just how stupidly brazen he's acting, but part of him doesn't care. Part of him just wants to erase the line between Bruce Wayne and Batman and enjoy the company of one of the only decent men left in the city.
"Funnily enough, I think Batman inspired Dent," Gordon says. "Dent and I had some conflict over how to handle Batman, but I think he appreciated what Batman stood for. He was, in Dent's mind –" but it sounds more like, in my mind "– the only incorruptible force in the city."
"I guess even the best of us can be corrupted." And for a second Bruce thinks that Gordon knows he's not talking about Batman.
"Yes." Gordon stares at the counter. "You were a friend of Dawes, weren't you?"
"Yeah. I knew her growing up."
"Oh. I'm so sorry. She was a good person. She believed in the fight."
"She did." Something about talking to Gordon makes it not hurt for a while. Something about talking honestly and from the gut. He's never talked with Alfred like this, or at least not so bluntly. Alfred doesn't need to talk. Alfred just knows. "So did Dent. I had a fundraiser for him, right before he died. Didn't know him very well, but he impressed me."
"He was quite impressive," Gordon agrees. His mouth twitches, or maybe it doesn't. There's not much light. "You know, the Joker… we had Batman interrogate him. We couldn't find Dent or Dawes so we turned to Batman and he got it out of the Joker, that they were being held in two warehouses, and he made Batman choose who to go after. He went after Dawes, interestingly enough. But the Joker had switched the locations. I… I didn't get there in time."
Bruce hides a frown. "Batman's got that Batmobile or motorcycle, doesn't he? He's got resources you don't have. You can't blame yourself."
"That's probably just what he would say," Gordon laughs. "It's interesting, though. I think Batman knew Dawes, as well. He called her Rachel."
"And every cop he killed turned out to be crooked. Very interesting." Gordon plays with a pen in his hands. "I'm sorry about Dawes. Really."
"People die. You deal with it."
"Yeah, you do. And I never think I thanked you properly for running that light."
"I didn't know the police thanked people for running lights."
"On occasion," Gordon states. There's a glimmer in his eyes that makes Bruce feel safe and nervous all at once. "I guess it's just a lucky coincidence that you chose to run that light at the exact moment when it would have saved our lives."
Bruce just nods. "I'm a lucky man."
"Not every man would say that after wrecking a Lamborghini." Gordon grins, but it's a weary grin that almost looks like a grimace. "Did you know that people always ask me if I know who Batman is? Of course, I don't, but they seem to think I should. It's funny."
"Do you want to know who Batman is?" Bruce asks, and even he's not sure what he really means by that.
"No," says Gordon honestly. "Because then I'd have to arrest him."
"Oh. That's very true."
"But people ask me what could have made this man. What could have drawn this man of such talents to fight crime as he does. I always thought it was some tragedy early in his life. Something that set in him a thirst for vengeance but also a thirst for justice. I think he probably tried to get revenge but realized that he was just an angry young man, and that after that he set out to become Batman. It's all guesswork, but I think it probably goes something like that. And, judging by his gadgets and vehicles, I'd say he's probably a very wealthy man."
"Really?" Bruce smiles. "That's funny to think about. Maybe I've met Batman without ever knowing it!"
"Maybe." Gordon stops. "I remember the first time I met you. Do you?"
"It was a shame. Your parents were good people. It's a tragedy that someone would have to encounter human corruption at such a young age. I imagine it probably shaped how you view the world."
"To some degree. I try to keep it light."
"That's a good philosophy." Gordon puts the pen in the pocket of his suit. "People will always ask me if I know who Batman is, and I'll always tell them I have no clue."
"I bet Batman's pretty appreciative of that."
"As he should be."
A moment passes between the two, and it's a seminal moment in which Bruce realizes that everything has changed. There is no longer a line between Bruce Wayne and Batman in the mind of Gordon, and in a way that further erases the line in Bruce's own mind. But Gordon won't betray him. He's one of the last good men in the city.
"But Batman's a cop killer," Gordon says, and the façade is up again. "This city needs more Harvey Dents."
"We do," Bruce agrees truthfully. "I thought it was the cheesiest campaign slogan ever, but I have to admit, I really did believe in Harvey Dent."
"So did I." Gordon gets up from his seat and smiles at Bruce. "We can only hope that there are more Harvey Dents around. More people to believe in. For now, this city needs a vigilante, I think. They need someone who's not a hero, someone who'll fight without obeying the rules of the police. One day, maybe, there'll be enough Harvey Dents so that we don't need Batman any more."
"One day." Bruce smiles back at the commissioner. "I've kept you too long, Commissioner. Your wife's probably looking for you."
"Too right she is." Gordon sighs and straightens his tie. "I'll see you around, Wayne. Try not to run any more lights, will you?"
Gordon nods in a silent goodbye and walks away. Bruce watches him as he merges with the crowd. Gotham needs another Harvey Dent, he muses. But it wouldn't hurt to have another Jim Gordon.