It was one of the those days.
Commissioner Gordon was beginning to realise that there were more of those days than not. Really, he should start marking the days where nothing extraordinary happened and be happy with them. He rubbed the bridge of his nose, sighed, then couldn't find anything else to put off the conversation he was about to (and didn't want to) have.
"You want to do what?"
"See Batman," one of the two men standing the middle of the police station said as though it wasn't a strange request, "It's night and we know you've got a signal for him."
They weren't reporters (that Gordon could tell, and he rather thought himself a reasonable detective, if not quite on the Batman's level), or victims of some kind (ditto), which were the usual sorts of people wanting to contact Gotham's vigilante. He had the feeling he'd seen them before, but couldn't place where.
"Look, it won't take five minutes," said the other guy in a thick Australian accent, "Aren't you supposed to help people in need?"
"As the police, yes," Gordon clarified, "The Batman is a vigilante."
"And you got a signal for him," the Australian guy pushed.
Gordon could feel the eyes of the rest of the department on his back as he rubbed the bridge of his nose again. "Fine," he said, "Yin, you're in charge."
Yin nodded as Gordon lead the two men past her desk. He let them go ahead of him up the stairs to the roof, if they were criminals there wasn't much point in giving them leeway to attack him.
There was a light drizzle when they reached the roof and Gordon envied the non-Australian man's thick coat (a winter coat, far too heavy for the time of year). The Bat-signal (as everyone had unanimously decided to call it) lit the dark clouds perfectly. One upside for the weather.
Batman landed on the roof behind the three of them two minutes later. Gordon wasn't entirely surprised to see that he had batarangs held ready. Maybe one day the vigilante wouldn't be able to surprise him at all.
"Cold," Batman said, "Boomerang."
Gordon could have kicked himself. Captain Cold and Captain Boomerang, two of Central City's biggest villains. Sometimes when you lived in Gotham it was hard to remember that crime happened elsewhere too.
"Batman," Cold greeted, "We wanted a word."
Batman didn't drop his stance and Gordon was beginning to wonder if he should be ready to go for his gun or not. However, so far the villains hadn't pulled out their own weapons yet.
"Where's Flash?" Cold asked, "He's never been gone this long without leaving word."
Gordon choked, but thankfully none of the rest noticed. A hero leaving word with his villains? Gordon had a sudden mental image of Batman popping into Arkham Asylum to announce he was taking a week off. He had to try very hard not to laugh at the thought.
"Where do you think he is?" Batman asked right back.
"He's either off on some deep-space thing," Boomerang answered, scowling at Batman's evasion, "Which ain't right, that's what the Lanterns are for. Or he's hurt. Hurt really bad."
"Not dead?" Gordon couldn't help asking.
"Like there wouldn't be a massive funeral like when everyone thought Superman had copped it," Boomerang scoffed, "Nah, he's alive."
"And we'd like to know where," Cold growled.
Batman gave them both a considering look, then straightened. He slipped his batarangs back wherever he kept them and let his cloak fall about him.
"Watchtower infirmary," Batman said.
Boomerang whistled, "What the hell was he fighting? You know the speed-healing only works if he's got enough to burn, right?"
"Just sayin'," Boomerang defended himself.
This time they caught Gordon's snort.
"Just because Gotham's full of nutjobs like the Joker doesn't mean the rest of the world is," Cold said, "It's all fun and games until you get someone like Zoom involved."
"Fun and games which cost people their jobs and lives," Batman said harshly.
"We're making a living," Cold hissed, "And you wouldn't last five minutes in the kid's shoes."
To Gordon's surprise, Batman acknowledged the statement with a tilt of his head. Gordon almost (almost) wished for one of Gotham's regular crazies to appear so everything was back to normal.
"We know how the system works," Boomerang said, "If a hero's out of town, you get someone else to watch the city. Flash lets us know so we don't end up the wrong side of Superman or someone worse."
Gordon raised an eyebrow at Batman, who just ignored it. Gordon knew the Joker wouldn't like it if Batman was out of town for a particular length of time, but that was because the Dark Knight was his favourite plaything. These two actually appeared worried.
"The Flash was injured in a fight against a group of magic users," Batman said, "Magically inflicted injuries have their own healing time. He should be back on his feet within the week."
Gordon was surprised. Both by the fact that Batman was actually telling them and at the length of his answer.
"Damn," Boomerang said, his mouth twisting, "Poor kid."
Cold grimaced. "Alright. Tell him Trickster's planning a surprise welcome-back thing."
Batman nodded. He waited to see if anyone had any more to say, and when they didn't he leapt off the roof and fired his grappling gun. Gordon was left waiting on the roof with two villains. Either Batman thought they wouldn't be trouble or he thought Gordon could handle it. Gordon wasn't entirely sure which option he preferred.
He settled for giving the Rouges an amused glance.
"You'd be worried if you thought Batman was being replaced," Cold said defensively, "There's not a hero out there like Flash. We'd be a lot worse off with someone else thinking they could take care of Central."
Gordon smirked. "Can you can find your way out of Gotham?"
"Got in without attracting the wrong sort of attention," Boomerang said, "Should be easier to get out."
"And sorry about this," Cold said, pulling out an odd gun, "You've been helpful, but it's business, you know?"
Gordon didn't have time to get out of the way before a blast of icy air froze him solid.
It didn't feel like any time at all before Batman was thawing Gordon out of the ice (though checking his watch later confirmed that he'd missed at least ten minutes). Gordon shivered and Batman produced a coat that he must have taken from Gordon's office downstairs.
"Th-thanks," Gordon got out through chattering teeth.
He noticed Cold's gun on the rooftop. It had a batarang through it. Gordon gave a shaky laugh.
"You took care of them?"
"They're on their way back to Central City," Batman said with a sideways glance (or as much of one as Gordon could tell).
Which didn't tell him anything (like if they were in custody or going back under their own power), but Gordon was used to that by now.
"Almost makes you wish some of ours were like that," Gordon commented (and referring to villains as theirs wasn't a sign he'd been living in Gotham for too long he didn't know what was) and shook a melting piece of ice off his leg.
As usual, by the time he turned around, Batman had vanished, along with the broken freeze-ray. Gordon sighed and traipsed back downstairs to the pile of paperwork that awaited him, leaving a trail of melt-water as he went.
Just one of those days.