Title: Sometimes He Might...

Author: Takebuo Ishimatsu

Pairing(s): None

Summary: Gordon doesn't know what Batman does during the day. Doesn't know where he lives, or what kind of car he drives. Doesn't know if he has a family or a house full of cats. Gordon doesn't know who Batman is. Except when he's making excuses to himself.

Warning: Spoilers for the new stuff going on in the Batman universe. (Basically, the roles of everyone now, not much else.)

Disclaimer: I do not own Batman.

Gordon couldn't pinpoint the exact moment that he knew, well, what he knew. There'd been no neon sign appearing out of nowhere, pointing out the other man as being more than meets the eye. Or rather, more appropriately, there'd been no cloak of shadows, no sound of fluttering wings, no...anything. Batman was too good for that.

Even that first day, before Gordon had ever even met the masked man, he'd been in full control of the situation. He'd known that he'd make the front page (even if they hadn't caught a picture to put on it until years later) and he'd been planning for it. Perhaps planning on it.

If Gordon had a dollar for every time some two-bit reporter, some over-enthusiastic fan, hell, even some crooked cop, had tried to tell him it couldn't really be that hard to figure it out, he'd have enough money to fund the Batman himself and retire comfortably.

Look for the rich boys, they'd tell him.

There'd been four that had moved to Gotham in the months that preceded Batman's arrival. And that was just the mega-millionaires alone. Never mind that any man with a strong sense of justice could have convinced any one of existing "do-gooder richies" (as Bullock called them) to fund the operation.

Look for the athletic types, they'd tell him.

God, did they even listen to themselves when they talked? There were over twenty dojos alone in Gotham. Factor in the gym-goers, athletic teams, and privately run clubs, and you had hundreds of areas to watch, all with dozens of participates. At the least.

Look for the super-intelligent, they'd tell him.

There'd been a rookie a few years back that could do Pi up to fifty decimal points and spoke nine languages. Poor lad had been a big of a clutz, however, and Gordon had amusingly ruled him out as a potential suspect when he'd accidentally tripped over Montoya's trash basket and broken his wrist.

Look for the motivation, they'd tell him.

Hell, by the time Batman had shown up, Gotham had been so bad Gordon himself might have had reason-enough to do it.

Well, you see him every day! Can't you guess? They'd exclaim at him.

And that was when he'd smile and not-so-politely ask them if they'd like to try his job for a week while spending extra time trying to track-down vigilantes who were only helping. No doubt remembering his near-death experiences he had on the average of once a month, they'd usually shut up after that.

And once they'd left, Gordon would force himself not to think about what he thought knew. Not to put together the tiny fragments of evidence (which were more like gut-feelings, really) and proclaim one man the "winner." He pretended he didn't have enough clues: there was no neon sign, no cloak of shadows, no sound of fluttering wings, so on and so forth.

But, even despite his best attempts, he sometimes found himself making excuses, using knowledge that he shouldn't have. And that's when his little fantasy collapsed for the briefest of moments.

He couldn't pinpoint exactly when he'd known, but he could certainly pinpoint the exact moment he'd admitted to himself that he might know more than he liked to believe.

It'd been the boy, his first Robin, that had set it off. The first time he'd told himself that it was ok since he was, well, you know.

He'd gone out onto the roof to have a talking-to with the Bat. He hadn't planned what he was going to say. Perhaps something along the lines of telling him that their partnership was over unless he ditched the boy. Children were too young for their work.

But then he'd caught sight of the lad, in his bright little outfit and he'd faltered at what he saw behind the smiles and the mask. The boy was not only determined, he was driven. Driven in the same way that his mentor was. The same way that orphaned rookies were; the ones that used the GCPD as a surrogate family for the one that either didn't care about them or that they just didn't have at all.

And then the thought had come unbidden. The idea that it made sense, didn't it? They were orphans, who had only each other. Batman taking in the young acrobat and Gotham taking in Batman.

He'd stopped himself at the time from going further than that and he forced himself to believe that he just assumed that they were orphans, based on ones he'd met before. And, of course he was an acrobat! The boy could flip circles around the Bat, and that was saying something.

Of course, his lie hadn't lasted long when he'd checked into the boy's school records the next day, with the excuse that it was the anniversary of his family's death. (Gordon could only assume that had been on purpose; no way in hell had the Bat not known the significance of the day he introduced his little chick to the world.) He'd been pleased to find that he was attending a prestigious private school, and a few discrete calls had told enough about his attendance and grades to settle him.

And he made friends easily, seen smiling both in the company of civilians and speedy balls of yellow-clad energy (or red, as it was currently). Even the Bat seemed to soften under his magnetic smiles.

So, concluding that the boy really had no where else to go, and nothing else to do with the pain of his loss, Gordon had accepted the pint-sized crime fighter with only a minor amount of disapproval.

Of course, he checked into all of the Robins after that, as a matter of duty. Seeing as he wasn't entirely certain that Superman and all those other tight-wearers could make an unbiased decision regarding young heroes (they all had at least one sidekick by then), he figured it was his job to make certain the Bat only took in those that needed it. There'd be no after-school club for potential Batlings on his watch, thank you very much.

The newest one was hard to get a good grasp on, though he figured, if nothing else, he could certainly use the humility and control he gained from working with the Dark Knight. And perhaps some friends. He'd been pleased when the boy (and it was hard to think of him as anything else, despite the new attire) had told him that his little bird had joined the Teen Titans. He'd been even more pleased when he'd off-handedly thrown out the comment that his other bird was visiting his father.

No, not his. Gordon was certain he'd said their. Either way, he pretended not to know what the statement had truly meant.

The news had put him in such a good mood that he'd also pretended that he didn't mind when the Bat had accidentally caused a six-car pile-up chasing down Scarecrow later that evening. He supposed it was hard to transfer from a motorcycle to a flying car smoothly. Or perhaps the bird had been driving, no doubt without permission.

It wasn't like it mattered too much, anyway.

He knew, though he wouldn't admit how he knew, that the people involved would mysteriously get a nice sum of money in their bank accounts in the next few days. He supposed there might be the sound of screeching tires and flustered driving teachers around that place later on, and he vowed not to visit about the upcoming GCPD fundraiser without calling first.

And, even though he was long-past the point of lying to himself, he'd say it was just because it was impolite to just show up. Not because he knew anything that he shouldn't.

Just like he'd tell himself that they all made mistakes from time to time, even though he knew should yell at them both for recklessly endangering suspects the week previously. Even if they'd gotten the slimy toad to spill his guts.

He pretended that he wasn't wondering how often Daddy Bat (and wasn't that a weird thought?) checked in on his chicks. And when he was coming back to the nest.

Someone was getting yelled at sometime this week for something. After all, that's what protective fathers did when they didn't know how else to keep their children safe from themselves.

But, there was no neon sign, no cloak of shadows, no sound of fluttering wings, so he didn't know that.

AN: Don't know how I feel about this one. I like it, but wonder if it shouldn't have more. But I don't want to cram in useless stuff and ruin the feel. *Sigh*

Anyway, besides my obvious over-use of the worlds "little" and "bird" (I'm working on that...slowly), what did you think? Let me know if the vagueness is too confusing. (I know I randomly switch Bats in the middle...^_^0)