The timing for this is 7 years past TDKR, and fifteen from Batman Begins, figuring that BB and TDK were within months of each other. TDK and TDKR were 8 years, as mentioned on Harvey Dent Day in the beginning of the movie.
Credit is given where credit is due, I take nothing but the imagined scenario and conversation below.
Tangible Ties to the Past
The statue stood tall, much taller than real life. Its dark tone was full of shadows, the sharp angles melding evenly with the natural ones of the cape, the facial features down turned in a determined, yet sad expression. Age had done nothing to it in the seven years it had stood tall. It was still as much reminder to the city as it was the day it was unveiled, the true knight of Gotham to stand tall for its citizens. It was out in the open, in the daylight, displayed for all, when its true life equal had been shunned to the darkness for so long.
How was it that a city could be more off kilter in its emotions? Was he to be praised for saving the day, or shunned for it? At this moment in time, he was praised, as he had nearly fifteen years prior. But the legacy was gone, and in its place stood shadows and tales to be passed on.
Gotham was peaceful. Its revolution had passed, and in its wake left determined citizens more eager than ever to work together. No longer were the classes so far divided. It was... nearly equal. As close to a working society as it could be.
And it was on the anniversary, not of the day the statue was put up to be remembered by, but on the day the figure the statue depicted rose for its first time that he returned. Facial hair marred his face from scrutiny, a hat and scarf hid him from curiosity, and an overly large umbrella shaded him and his companion from the icy rain that fell upon the city. The statue stood tall, its face looking down upon them in modest submission, eyes unfocused but looking upon the citizens, as it always had.
No one else surrounded the statue, leaving the two coated figures in peace. Breath fogged in front of them and the steady patter of rain formed a column of silence, giving them the hushed security of privacy. Her grip tightened on his arm, the leather of her gloves creaking slightly between her fingers, the wool of his coat giving under them into submission. He looked over at her and gave a sad smile, pressing his lips to her forehead before returning his gaze to the statue.
"Do you miss it?" she whispered, nearly inaudible. She almost didn't want to hear the answer, in fear he'd wish to return to that portion of his life.
He was quiet a moment before slowly looking down and shaking his head. "No, I don't," he confirmed, voice laced with sadness of times past. "Batman had his day. I have mine."
She didn't pretend to know what he truly meant. After seven years together, she still hardly understood what went on in his mind, the secrets he still held and the nightmares that tortured his sleep. They were far more infrequent now, but every so often she awoke to his heavy breathing, his brow twisted under the pain and horror his mind created. She could only place a hand on his cheek to rouse him carefully, and assure him with her gaze so close that she was all he could see. It comforted him then, and he could at least calm down for the remainder of the night, content to just hold her close.
"The statue..." he started and she looked back up at him. His face was curious, lost in thought as he contemplated his next words. Bruce Wayne never did anything without reason, and after seven years of being free to do whatever, he still spoke every word with meaning, he acted every moment with purpose. "It's a bit... ostentatious, don't you think?"
Her lips twisted in a wry smile, the irony to his words not lost on her. "A man dressing up as bat with a flare for mystery and theatrics believes that statue of his to be over the top? Why, Mr. Wayne you never cease to amaze me."
He gave her a knowing look, one they frequently passed to each other when their dry humor surfaced. "I don't dress up as a bat anymore."
"Of course not," she said with a small smirk. "And I don't dress up like a cat burglar either. Unless you're good and ask nicely."
She pouted, looking up at him through her thick lashes, her eyes narrowing just that slight bit that sent his blood boiling. Her lips pushed forwards just enough to match the intensity of her gaze and he couldn't help but smile back down at her, letting her know she'd broken into his walls yet again.
He turned his gaze back to the statue and she followed, both waiting a moment to take it back in again. She stepped forward, her large hat shielding some of the rain from her face as she raised her head to look directly up into the statue's face. Her gloved hand reached out, exposing her thin pale wrist to the chilling day, fingers running from the emblem on the chest over to the cloak, almost remembering the feel of his suit and cape exactly as it had been that day. The last day he'd ever worn the suit.
She closed her eyes, inhaling deeply and holding her breath as she traced the folds down before dropping her hand away completely. She opened her gaze back to the face of Batman staring down at her.
"Do you miss him?" the guttural voice sounded behind her, and her shoulders tensed slightly as Bruce spoke in his Batman voice, something she hadn't heard in seven years. His breath was hot on her neck, lips nearly touching her ear as he whispered the words to her. She hadn't heard him approach, but neither could ever hear the other when they walked. They both were quiet and graceful, measured steps always taken as if they were the last they'd ever take.
"No," she returned, eyes drifting shut as she leaned into his warmth, her back pressing to his shoulder. Her gloved hand reached up and caught his neck, holding him to her carefully as if he could disappear within a moment. "I've always had him."
Bruce didn't reply, only allowed his right hand, the one not holding the umbrella, to wrap around her waist and hold her tightly back, both reassuring the other of their presence. Bats and Cats were never far apart from each other; the both could slink away quietly without the other ever knowing.
Slow footsteps sounded behind them, and slowly they let their arms drop to a more casual posture. She stepped to the side to retake her hold on his arm, carefully glancing behind Bruce's shoulder out of her peripheral vision to the newcomer.
Long brown coat, worn umbrella in one hand, mustache graying at the edges but still lining his upper lip with the fullness it always had. She smiled slightly and returned her gaze to the statue. The man stepped up, paralleling them on Bruce's left shoulder. He tilted his head once towards them, giving a slight nod.
"I'm glad to see you two are well," Gordon said quietly.
"You too, Commissioner," Bruce replied, turning to look at Gordon with a smile on his face.
"Oh no," Gordon shook his head with a grin. "I retired last spring. It's just Jim now."
"It's a pleasure to see you again, Jim," Selina said in the even, sophisticated accent of the more rich and affluent Gotham class.
"And you as well, Ms..."
"Wayne," she provided.
"Ms. Wayne," Gordon smiled, eyes crinkling up the same way that had years prior, if not in a lighter, more natural way. "Congratulations to you both."
"Thank you," Bruce nodded, his smile reaching his eyes in a way it never had when he'd ever been in Gotham before. His gaze flickered to the statue once before asking, "what brings you here?"
"A man can't pay his respects?" Gordon questioned with a slight bit of humor.
"I suppose he can, I was merely curious."
Gordon nodded, looking up to the tall figure. "I come every month or so. Just to remind myself of what you stood for. That and there was a time when I believed you dead and this was the equivalent to a gravestone. Not often I could make the trip out to Wayne Manor."
"I see," Bruce said simply. He had a small smile playing on his face as he asked, "How was my funeral, by the way? I never asked Alfred."
"Your funeral?" Gordon echoed, eyebrows high in surprise. He gave a small laugh before shaking his head and replying, "Oh it was lovely. Small, just Lucius, John, Alfred and I. I gave a speech."
"Did you?" Bruce laughed slightly. "I feel like I should thank you."
"You'll never have to," Gordon said evenly, no trace of the humor from a moment ago in his voice. He still remembered those words fifteen years ago as the Batman had said them before jumping off the top of MI-6. They had resonated that day within Gordon. Sometimes you had to do things for the good of the city, invisibly, silently, and never for credit or thanks, no matter how much is due. It was something no officer could ever achieve; a selfless instinct that only few possessed.
Bruce simply nodded in reply, instantly recognizing the words. The three lapsed into silence as the rain continued to fall around them. Puddles lay at their feet, rippling as more drops hit and distorting the statue's reflection. It was quiet, the city's sound filtered out by the large buildings that surrounded the statue. Here was a sanctuary within Gotham.
Bruce's hand met Selina's between them, fingers twisting together in tight reassurance of the other's presence. Bruce said a quiet farewell to Gordon of few words and meaningful gazes before he and Selina turned their backs on the statue. Maybe in a few years they'd return again, to remind themselves of the past, maybe they never will.
Fifteen years was a long time from Batman's inception, and seven years was a long time from his conclusion. The memories wouldn't fade, of that they were sure. The feelings still resonated within them as strong and burning as the kiss Selina gave when she thought she'd never see him, never know who he was ever again. To them, Gotham's tribute to Batman was merely a tangible tie to the past, when everything else had been stripped free. It was a reminder, not just for Gotham, but for them as well.
Gotham's reckoning came and passed, and it was still standing strong. It did not need its Dark Knight, not today, not again. It only needed the reminder that one was there, ready to give his life to save the people within it.
This was in fact my first Batman fic. I cannot say whether or not there will be more, but I've seen The Dark Knight Rises twice in theater and I cannot get it out of my head. I may or may not also be listening to the soundtrack on repeat. Oh, and the Selina and Bruce ship has obviously sailed with me at the helm. I think that's correct boat terminology. My exposure to boat language is what I've garnered from the movie Titanic and various Star Wars books...which are ships in space and have nothing to do with water.
In other things, I'd prefer a review but I expect no more than a few!