Disclaimer: Batman belongs to DC Comics and Warner Bros.

A/N: Written for the "Valentine" theme at batfic_contest on LJ.

Sacrifice


It had been a hard year. Now that Batman was an outlaw—a real outlaw—Gordon couldn't risk being caught seen with him. His entire career was at stake. So their meetings were few and far between. It just so happened that their current meeting fell on Valentine's Day.

Gordon was off-duty. He was supposed to be getting back to his home and his wife, but Batman had sent him a message to set up a meeting. They always met in different locations. This time Batman had chosen an abandoned warehouse in the Narrows that he had scoped out and made sure was secure hours beforehand.

They didn't have much to say to each other nowadays. The charade of pretending Batman was a murderer, of living a lie everyday, had worn on the both of them. Gordon admired the sacrifice Batman had made, but a part of him resented it, too. Why couldn't Batman just allow himself to be human?

Batman discussed the evidence he was giving Gordon on their latest case in terse, businesslike terms. As he talked, Gordon could hear rain begin to clink on the roof above. When Batman finished, he said, "Sorry to keep you away from your wife tonight, Commissioner."

Gordon looked down on the evidence in his hands. "My wife's leaving me."

He expected to find the dark knight gone when he looked up, as usual. To his surprise, Batman was still there.

"I'm sorry to hear that, Jim."

"Things were never the same after that night with Harvey…" Gordon choked up. He almost couldn't believe he was talking about it. He hadn't yet told any of his friends or colleagues about his wife. It was too painful. "It's been too hard on her. Every since I became Commissioner, the heat's been too much. She wants to move away, someplace safer. Wants to take the kids, too. I keep arguing, but… I suppose I should let them go. Kids need their mother."

"Kids need their father, too."

Gordon sighed, his breath fogging up in the cold air. "Some Valentine's Day, huh? I know it must be hard on you, too."

Batman was silent, a slight look of surprise in his eyes. Could Gordon read him that well?

"It took me a while to figure out, I admit it. I should have realized right away. After everything you and me and Harvey worked for, after all your dedication to the cause… when the Joker set up that trap, had Harvey and Rachel tied up with explosives… Batman would have put the greatest interests of the city at heart. Batman would have chosen to go after Harvey. But you didn't. Whoever lives under all this," Gordon gestured to his face, "that man chose Rachel. You were in love with her. The Joker wasn't targeting Harvey when he killed Rachel. He picked you. He wanted to make you fall."

A long silence. Batman looked pained.

"Yes."

"But you told Harvey differently, at the end. You let him think that he was the best of us."

"He didn't have to know."

"You're all about sacrifice, aren't you?"

"Talk to your wife, Jim. It would be a shame for your kids to grow up without their father."

"Yeah," Gordon looked down at his shoes. "Yeah, I should."

When he looked up, Batman was gone.

Then he walked out, into the rain, and tried to make his way home.