A lot had happened in that one year.
This time twelve months ago, Jim had been on the brink of learning Batman’s identity. He still remembered it vividly - the fresh cigarette in his mouth, the way Batman had spoken softly but with certainty, and the way his own heart had skipped when he finally removed the cowl. Everything had fallen into place when Bruce Wayne had looked back at him, hesitant as Jim finally saw him for who he was.
At long last, Jim had been able to put a face to his feelings. They had flourished, and now here he was, still dating and very much in love with the same man.
He hadn’t really known what to get Bruce for their first anniversary. He was a man who had everything he wanted, or the funds to get it if he didn’t own it yet. The obvious choice was something personal, and in the end, Jim had settled on a framed photo of the two of them. It was one of his favourites; Alfred had taken it somewhat sneakily while Jim and Bruce had been cooking together, smiles plastered across their faces. Hopefully, it would fit in right alongside the others Bruce had in his room. It should, considering Alfred had helped him get a matching frame.
For now, it lay on his bed, wrapped with a sealed card resting on top. There was a bouquet of flowers downstairs in the kitchen, too.
His phone buzzed on the nightstand. Jim left it for a moment, considering the options in his thinned out wardrobe - most of it was at Wayne Manor now; Jim only really crashed at his old house, given he spent most of his time living with Bruce these days. Still, some of his belongings were here, including some of his nicer clothes that he didn’t often have the occasion to wear.
Even then, there wasn’t much. Jim frowned at the hangers. Bruce saw him in a buttoned shirt most days already, so wearing one wasn’t exactly doing anything special.
Another buzz. Jim peeled himself away from his wardrobe to check it out.
Hey, Jim. What time are you coming home?
Home. The thought made butterflies spring into being in Jim’s chest, despite it having been months since he’d first thought of the manor as home.
Idly, he scrolled back up a little in their texts. They’d already wished each other a happy anniversary that morning, though unfortunately not in person just yet; Jim had had an early shift at the GCPD, so he’d figured it was easier to stay at his old place. He’d also been hiding the present here, and it had given him an opportunity to grab some flowers on his way back to collect it.
Soon. Gonna aim for seven. Just trying to figure out what to wear.
I’ll have dinner ready. And you don’t have to dress up, you know, it’s just me.
Jim snorted a quiet little laugh. Sure, it was just Bruce Wayne. They had never really paid much attention to Bruce’s status beyond a few little teasing jokes here and there, but sometimes he could be so blind to the fact that he and Jim came from very different backgrounds. Even now, so long after they’d started dating, Jim found himself surprised by some parts of Bruce’s lifestyle. Just living in the manor with him had shown him that.
I’m dressing up, Bruce. I haven’t got anything too fancy, though, so don’t get your hopes up.
Then I’ll go get dressed, too.
Do I get a sneak peek?
Jim wandered back to his wardrobe as he texted, idly pulling out the one suit he owned. It would do, he supposed. He wasn’t aiming to look like a million dollars, after all - though maybe he would take Bruce up on visiting a tailor at some point, just so he could have one that fit a little better.
Satisfied, Jim laid the jacket across his bed for now, tugged on the trousers, and reached for a shirt. He paused when his phone beeped again, glancing down at his hand.
Bruce had sent a photo.
It was tasteful, nothing too raunchy, but it still made Jim’s blood pressure spike. It was just shoulders and chest, all enclosed in a crisp white buttoned shirt, but Bruce’s hand was in frame, tugging down the pale blue tie that was around his neck. It was open a little too, just enough to expose some of Bruce’s collarbone.
He called Bruce.
“So?” Bruce sounded smug, the bastard.
“I didn’t mean that much of a sneak peek,” Jim huffed. “Jesus.”
Bruce laughed. Even through the speakers, the sound of it made Jim’s stomach flip. “Well, what else was I supposed to send?”
“A normal photo that won’t give me a heart attack before I even get home?”
“I thought I’d get creative.” Jim set his phone to speaker and put it down again so he could start buttoning his shirt. “Are you gonna send one back?”
Jim’s fingers paused. “I’m not even dressed yet, Bruce.”
“You know, I’m starting to believe what the press used to say about you,” Jim said, rolling his eyes. He reached for his phone, though, and considered how best to do it. “You really are a horny bastard.”
This time, Bruce’s chuckle was quieter, warmer. “It took you a year to figure that out?”
Jim ducked his chin to his chest, smiling. “No, I knew. Somehow, you seem worse about it when you’re actually in a relationship.”
“Well, we haven’t had a scandal in the papers yet, and considering they tried to pin one on me every week when I was single, I’d say I’m behaving pretty well.”
Jim flicked his buttons undone again. He’d settled on the look he wanted for his photo: shirt open, trousers on. It was admittedly a little bold for him, but hell, he was feeling bold. Bruce did that to him. He also wasn’t the best photographer in the world, so he ended up just pointing the camera at himself and praying that the shutter sound wasn’t too audible over the call.
“No clue how we’ve avoided that.” Jim settled on the edge of his bed, smirking. “You know, considering.”
“I remember. I’m trying not to, because I want to be presentable-” Bruce interrupted himself with a sharp inhale. Jim grinned to himself; no doubt he’d looked at the photo Jim had sent back. After a beat of silence, he continued, his voice an octave lower than before. “You’re making it pretty hard to do that, though.”
“You sent a photo first.”
“And who asked for a sneak peek?”
Jim laughed. “Okay, you got me.”
The back and forth was amusing and familiar, but there was also a distracting undercurrent of arousal laced through their teasing. Admittedly, Jim had hoped that the evening might lead somewhere given that it was their anniversary, but he hadn’t expected it to happen before he’d even left to meet Bruce. He squeezed his own knee, hoping he could will it away for now and finish getting dressed.
Instead, Jim laid back on the bed, and he closed his eyes.
“You asked for one back, though,” he said, a smile tugging on his lips.
“I was just trying to make it fair. You escalated things.”
“I told you I wasn’t dressed yet.”
He heard rustling, though Jim couldn’t place what it was. It was some kind of fabric, but that was about as much as he could figure out. “You know,” Bruce said, slow and somewhat playful, “you don’t have to get dressed.”
“You know we talked about scandals earlier? I’m pretty sure I’d be inviting one if I walked home half naked.”
“I mean, you don’t have to get dressed yet .”
Jim swallowed. “Why wouldn’t I?”
“Well… we don’t have to wait until this evening to celebrate, do we?”
He bit the inside of his cheek in a vain attempt to stop the sudden rush of desire. “I’d like to actually touch you,” Jim pointed out.
Bruce shifted again on the other end of the line. He was probably getting comfortable, by the sounds of things. “Who said we can’t do that later, too?”
Jim laughed. He sounded breathless even to himself. “You’ve got a lot of faith in my stamina.”
“I’ve seen proof to give me that faith.”
An image of Bruce came to mind easily, sprawled out on his bed with a satisfied little smirk. His imagination filled in the details - his tie tugged down to his chest, his shirt untucked, his belt undone - and Jim was a goner. He couldn’t wait to get his hands on Bruce later, but right now, he did sort of want to take care of the semi he had.
“You’re a menace, Bruce,” Jim huffed, trailing a hand down his front idly. It came to rest at his belt, waiting there. “A convincing menace.”
“Does that mean what I think it means?” There was a teasing note in Bruce’s voice, smug and playful. Jim wanted to kiss it away. “I know you’re coming over soon anyway, but…”
He rolled his eyes. “Yes, Bruce, we can have phone sex, since you can’t wait.”
“It’s not just me who can’t wait.” Jim’s pulse kicked up a notch when he heard the tinkle of a belt in the background. He found himself automatically following, fumbling to shove his trousers halfway down his thighs. “My picture was still clothed. And anyway, this way, we can have anniversary sex twice.”
There was a very familiar sounding sigh of relief. Jim’s toes curled against the carpet as his hand dipped down to press against himself through his underwear. “Jesus, Bruce,” he breathed. “Are you touch-”
“Yeah.” The response was immediate, desperate. Sometimes, it was easy to forget how open Bruce could be when he was that worked up, and that alone sent Jim spiralling deeper into his own need for him. If they were already at this point, things probably wouldn’t take long.
Neither of them were big on dirty talk; just hearing Bruce’s hitched breaths was plenty for Jim. Still, words spilled out of his mouth without his permission as he pressed the heel of his hand against his own dick. “Can I see?”
He didn’t even realise he’d asked the question at first. It wasn’t until his phone pinged over on the bedside table that it clicked.
It was a simple photo, but Jim had never needed anything fancy to get off, especially where Bruce was concerned. His partner was already stunning, after all, and Jim spent half of his time just feeling pretty damn lucky to be dating Bruce Wayne. It didn’t matter that the angle was charmingly off centre, or that he could see Bruce’s laundry basket in the very corner of the shot.
No, all that mattered was that Bruce’s dick was in his hand. He looked like he was mid stroke, too.
“Holy shit,” Jim wheezed, dropping his head back onto the bed. He wasted no time in shoving a hand into his underwear now, not with the image of Bruce jerking off burned into his retinas. “Fuck, Bruce.”
There was a low, pleased chuckle from the speaker next to his ear. “Are you gonna return the favour?”
Jim certainly didn’t have the lingering brainpower to get creative, so what he sent back ended up being a mirror of Bruce’s photo, not that Bruce seemed to mind. A shuddery groan came back through the mic, and Jim squeezed his eyes shut as he stroked himself a little quicker, riding the high of that noise. This wasn’t even the first time he’d had phone sex - it definitely wasn’t the first time with Bruce either - but he still didn’t think he’d ever been this bold in his fucking life.
He rocked up into his hand, desperate to physically touch Bruce. God, he ached to press him close and kiss him into a puddle, to jerk him off instead, to get on his knees and-
“Jim,” Bruce hissed. “Shit, I’m close.”
“Me, too,” he confessed in a rush of breath. “God, Bruce-”
He cut himself off when Bruce gasped. Jim went silent, biting his tongue as Bruce’s breathing hitched in a telltale way. “Jim,” he repeated, trailing into a groan that Jim knew all too well. Distantly, he could hear the slick slide of Bruce’s hand, quick and stuttery as he came.
That was all it took for Jim to tumble after him. He moaned something that sounded close enough to Bruce’s name as he spilled over his fingers, riding it out with the wonderful sound of Bruce panting right up against his ear. It was enough that his sense memory could fill in the rest, reminding him of the way Bruce shivered and reached for him after coming down from the high of sex, eager still for touch. Jim craved it now, too.
“Shit,” he breathed, a laugh bubbling up in his throat. “Happy anniversary.”
Bruce chuckled along with him. “Happy anniversary.” He paused, and Jim could still hear him puffing out little breaths through his nose as he giggled. “Well, this will be my second shower of the day.”
“Same here. I’m gonna need a minute to make myself presentable.” Jim closed his eyes, smiling to himself at the sound of Bruce’s voice. Then, snickering, he said, “Actually, with your plan, it’s gonna be three showers today.”
“Hopefully we can share the third one,” Bruce replied smoothly. There was a smile in his voice, and Jim could see it clearly in his mind’s eye. He sighed, and Jim heard the sounds of rustling movement. “I should go clean up so I can start dinner.”
Jim groaned as he pushed himself upright. “Do I get any hints?”
“Not this time. You used up all your sneak peeks earlier.”
“Damn. Guess I’ll just have to wait then.”
He listened to the sounds of Bruce moving around his room. It was harder to tell what he was up to now, though he could safely assume that he was probably undressing. “Seven isn’t that far off. You can always get here sooner. Although, if you do, you’ll have to wait in the dining room. You’ll spoil the surprise if you meet me in the kitchen.”
“I’ll see what I can do.” Jim stayed sitting for the moment as he picked up his phone, cradling it in his clean hand. “I’ll see you soon. I love you.”
“Love you, too.”
Jim was still smiling as he hung up. A warm, fuzzy feeling had taken up residence in his chest, and it clearly had no intention of moving on anytime soon. That was more than fine with Jim; he was delighted to know that Bruce could still make him feel butterflies, including immediately after sex. Their combined ability to laugh together was one of his favourite things about their relationship.
Smiling, he left his phone next to the wrapped present, and headed into the bathroom.
It was a little before seven when Jim made it home. He parked in Bruce’s spacious garage - spacious only because Bruce had just two vehicles - and let himself into the manor with his own key. In one hand, Jim held the flowers, and the present stayed tucked under his arm for now as he shot off a text to Bruce to let him know he’d arrived. He was neatly dressed now, and had even managed to find a blue tie that was a close enough match to the one Bruce had been wearing in his photo.
The manor had several dining rooms, Jim had come to learn over the past few months. It wasn’t exactly a surprise, really, considering he’d visited during several events Bruce had hosted before their relationship. He knew the way to the usual one, though; he’d discovered that Bruce and Alfred preferred the smaller one next to the little kitchen, mostly because it was more suitable for two or three people.
The dining room had been transformed.
While there was no food on the table yet, it was set with cutlery and empty glasses, and a bottle of wine sat to the side. The lights were low, leaving flickering candles casting shadows across the walls. Classical music played distantly in the background - Bruce’s favourite.
The door to the kitchen opened as Jim stood there, and Bruce beamed at him.
He looked even more handsome in person. That suit looked amazing on him, just like anything else Bruce wore. The tie, Jim realised, matched his eyes.
“Hey,” Bruce said, heading over. A hand came to rest on Jim’s side, drawing him in so Bruce could kiss his cheek. “Happy anniversary.”
“Happy anniversary,” Jim repeated. He held out the bouquet. “Here. These are for you.”
“And here I thought they were a gift for Alfred,” Bruce teased. He took them and lifted them to his nose to take a breath. A gentle smile tugged at his lips. “Thank you. Hold on, I have a vase over here they can use.”
Bruce separated from his side, drifting over to a dresser to arrange the flowers. He glanced at Jim over his shoulder. “Feel free to take a seat. I’ll bring dinner out in a moment.”
Jim sunk into his usual seat - Bruce had set the table where they normally sat, he realised, right at the end. “Still no hints?” he asked, playful.
“Nope.” Bruce flashed him a grin.
“Figured.” Sneakily, Jim set the gift down on the chair next to him, thankful for the shadows under the tablecloth. It could wait there for now. “Bruce, this is beautiful.”
Bruce made his way around Jim’s side of the table, dropping his hand to his shoulder for a quick squeeze on his way past. He turned as he reached the kitchen door, bumping it open with his hip. “Well, I figured I’d go all out since I was doing dinner anyway,” he said. “I’ll be back in a moment.”
He vanished through the door. Jim nudged the present just a little further under the table.
When Bruce returned, he was carrying two covered plates. He set them down on the table, and then reached for the wine, smoothly cracking open the seal. “No peeking,” he reminded Jim, raising an eyebrow at him as he filled their glasses.
“You’re killing me now,” Jim groaned. “I’ve been at work all day, Bruce, come on.”
Bruce laughed as he set the bottle down again. “Alright, alright. Go on, open it up.”
Jim lifted the lid over his plate, and he was immediately hit with the scent of meat. His mouth watered at the sight of the perfectly cooked steak, surrounded by a hearty helping of vegetables. Knowing Bruce, the wine was probably specifically chosen to pair well with all of it. Politely, he uncovered Bruce’s dinner as well as his partner took his seat, and he set aside the lids so they were well out of the way.
“Oh, I love you,” Jim said. He was pretty sure he had been close to moaning the words, but had narrowly dodged escalating things again just yet. That could come later. Truth be told, he wasn’t sure if enough time had passed that he could even go again right now, but with Bruce, he was always willing to try. “That looks amazing.”
“Dig in.” Bruce sat there, fingers laced under his chin, as he beamed at Jim.
Jim certainly wasn’t going to turn down the offer, not when the last thing he’d eaten had been lunch. He scooped up his knife and fork to dig in, closing his eyes gratefully at the first bite of steak. Bruce knew exactly how he liked it, and it was cooked to perfection.
“Tastes even better than it looks,” he said around his mouthful. “Thanks, Bruce.”
“I’m just glad you like it.” With Jim’s approval given, Bruce started on his own dinner, smiling to himself as he cut off a slice of meat. “How was your day?”
They shared quiet, warm chatter over dinner. Somehow, their laughter seemed quieter in the dancing light of the candles; Jim found himself lowering his voice and leaning in a little, indulging in the natural intimacy it inspired. Bruce met him halfway, leaning across the table at one point for a quick kiss as he refilled their wineglasses. His earlier assumption had been right - it paired wonderfully with the food - and it went down just as easily as the dinner itself.
Even when they were done eating, they still nursed half full glasses, though they relocated to the couch by the fireplace. Jim made sure to bring the present with him, making a valiant attempt to hide it under his arm.
“What’ve you got there?” Bruce asked, teasing, as Jim sat.
“Your present,” Jim replied, tucking it behind a cushion just so Bruce couldn’t see the shape. The cat was out of the bag, but he wasn’t about to let Bruce figure it out just by peering at the crinkles in the wrapping paper. “There’s no use in trying to get something past you, huh?”
“Nope.” Grinning, Bruce pulled a fist sized box out of his jacket pocket. “You, however, are the commissioner of the GCPD-”
Jim burst into laughter, desperately trying to gather himself as Bruce beamed at him. When Bruce settled down with him, it was close enough that their knees were firmly pressed together, and their elbows brushed whenever they moved. He could feel the warmth of Bruce through their clothing.
Still smiling, he retrieved his own hastily hidden gift. “Alright, alright. You got me. Here. Happy anniversary.”
They traded presents, but Jim didn’t open the box just yet. He waited, watching as Bruce peeled back the wrapping paper to reveal the frame, and then the photo inside. Bruce’s grin gentled into something much softer as he brushed his thumb against their joined hands in the picture.
“Jim,” he murmured, lifting his gaze to Jim’s face, “this is wonderful, thank you.” His hand came up to cup Jim’s cheek instead as he kissed him, long and slow and sweet. “I’ve been meaning to put up one of us together. So far, I just have ones of you.”
“I know.” Jim smiled against his lips as he leaned in for another quick peck. “You didn’t sneak that one by me.”
Bruce chuckled into the kiss, and then broke away to stand the photo on the coffee table. “But I did sneak that by you.”
Curious, Jim plucked at the neat bow tied around the box. It fell away, landing in a bundle on his knee, leaving Jim free to open the lid. Inside, nestled amongst velvet, was a familiar watch - his father’s watch, in fact, that had been broken long before it was ever Jim’s. He’d kept it out of sentimentality, of course, wearing it a couple of times just to feel the weight of it on his wrist, but it had never actually worked. He hadn’t been able to figure out what was wrong with it, and he’d been too busy with his career to work it out.
Now, though, it ticked away merrily. It showed the correct time. The glass face was gleaming.
“Bruce,” he breathed. He reached in, curving his fingers through the leather strap to lift it out of the box. Working on autopilot, he draped it across his wrist and buckled it into place. The quiet sound of the second hand was a sweet, welcome comfort; he hadn’t even realised he’d missed it until he heard it again. “How did you…?”
“I had some help,” Bruce admitted. He swept up the box and the ribbon, depositing them out of the way so he could lace his fingers with Jim’s. “I remembered seeing it when you moved in, and what you said about it. I… thought I could try to get it ticking again.” His thumb rubbed in little circles on the side of Jim’s hand, slow and warm. “I hope it wasn’t presumptuous of me-”
Jim cut him off with a kiss. “No, it wasn’t presumptuous,” he said, beaming. God, Jim could have cried if he hadn’t been smiling so much. “I’ve been trying to find time to fix this thing for years. Thank you.”
Bruce’s arm snaked around his middle. His chin came to rest on Jim’s shoulder, his breath puffing against Jim’s jaw as they both stared down at the watch. Jim leaned into Bruce without even thinking about it; those kinds of actions came to him as easily as breathing now where Bruce was concerned. He gave good hugs, and Jim found himself seeking them out without realising it most of the time.
A pair of lips brushed against his cheek. “Of course. I know how much it means to you.”
It meant a lot to Jim. He didn’t have a whole lot to remember his parents by; they had already been on the older end of the scale when they’d had him, so they’d passed away long ago. There were only a few things that it had made sense to keep, and this watch had been amongst that handful of possessions. The rest were tucked away in the watch’s usual spot, in the middle drawer of his bedside table up in their shared bedroom.
Jim’s eyes stung a little, but he wouldn’t admit that out loud. He cleared his throat and reached for his wine to take a sip. Conveniently, it was also a chance to compose himself.
When his hands were free, he sought out Bruce’s, tangling their fingers together. “Thank you,” he repeated, half laughing. “I think it’s safe to say you won the anniversary gifts after that and dinner.”
“It wasn’t a competition. Just having you here is more than enough for me.” Bruce squeezed Jim’s fingers between his own with a fond smile. “The flowers and the photo are very, very welcome, though. I love them.”
“I love you,” Jim shot back, warm and easy, and he smiled as Bruce caught him in a kiss.
“I love you, too,” Bruce murmured against his lips.
God, Jim would never get tired of hearing or saying those three words. One year in and it still made his chest swell, and he knew that that wasn’t about to stop anytime soon.