Gordon grunted as he turned up the lapels of his jacket against the rain. Shielding his pipe in the innards of his coat, he struck a match and lit the tobacco inside. He took a look pull, savoring the sweet taste in his mouth for a moment, before letting out a slow exhale. He watched from the cover of his umbrella as the rain cut through the smoke. Checking his watch again, he sighed. The man he was waiting for honestly had no sense of decorum. He had lit the signal ten minutes ago; he could have been halfway home by now.
"Jim," came a low growl from behind him, in his earlier years, the commissioner of the Gotham City Police Department would have jumped in surprise, maybe would have dropped his pipe and reached for his weapon. But after nearly a decade-long partnership, he was more than used to his strange acquaintance's…quirks.
Turning around, Gordon looked at the Batman. He was tall, standing at around six feet and two inches tall. His already impressive frame only enhanced by the powerful looking body armor the vigilante wore.
He didn't say anything, the Batman was never one for small talk or preamble. He was patient enough to wait for Jim to tell him why he was summoned. Instead of speaking, Jim simply reached into his jacket and withdrew a file, without a word he passed it to the man, who took it, the rain bouncing off the laminate casing around the pages. The vigilante took the file, and briefly skimmed over the contents. After a few moments of silence, the file was passed back to Jim.
The silence stretched on for a few moments before Jim grew impatient, "So?" he asked, "What do you think?"
"If you're asking if he's clean, then the answer is yes." the man said,
Jim rolled his eyes, "Of course you already ran your own background check." He took another puff from his pipe, adjusting his umbrella to keep the change of wind from redirecting the rain from pelting him in the face, "Don't know why I don't just have you conduct the interviews." he grumbled,
Batman's eyes narrowed beneath his cowl, but he wasn't the one to answer,
"Perseus Jackson. 26. Graduated from Goode High School in Queens New York in spite of a troubled childhood. Had a run in with the FBI when he was a kid for kidnapping, murder, and destruction of national property but he was exonerated. After graduation he joined the Navy, did four tours before he was honorably discharged following a bad operation in Markovia. Graduated Suma Cum Laude from NYU for criminal justice before he joined the Metropolis Police Department. Rose through the ranks quickly, became the youngest detective in department history. Had the best case closure percentage of all active detectives." The voice came from the other side of Gordon, turning around, Gordon saw the other half of the "Dynamic Duo."
He was young, far too young to be in the line of work that he was; couldn't have been more than thirteen. Dressed in a red and yellow armored body suit, his dark black hair matted down in the rain, the vigilante Robin was looking at a holographic file that was being projected on the gauntlet on the boy's arm.
The boy whistled appreciatively, glancing up, the boy looked passed Gordon and at his mentor, "Guy's good," he said, before he went back to typing on his gauntlet. "Looks like he's got a good career going, why's he transferring?"
Gordon looked at the young man with a frown, he vehemently disagreed with the young man's even being there but he knew better than to try and argue it. "He was there for the attack. His partner, Roger Davis, and his entire family were killed. From what Commissioner Corporon told me, Jackson was close to the family. Was devastated by their deaths. Needed a new lease and Corporon recommended I give it.
"I already talked to Superman. He had nothing but good things to say. He's clean." Batman said, choosing to ignore his partner's interjection.
Gordon snorted, "They all start that way." he said cynically.
"Where are you placing him?"
That actually seemed to surprise Jim's companion, and Jim tried to keep a smirk of satisfaction of his face. It wasn't every day that he managed to catch "the world's greatest detective" off-guard.
"That entire precinct is dirty," the man said,
"For the most part," Gordon nodded, "I'm sick of bringing in new blood, only to have it tainted immediately. If he's going to go on the take, I want to know about it quickly so we can take care of it before it becomes a problem."
"That's cynical," Robin snarked, still not looking up from his gauntlet. Jim tried not to roll his eyes, superhero or not, kids were the same everywhere. Massively engrossed in whatever screen was in front of them.
"Maybe," Batman said, "But it's a good call." Looking back at Gordon he said, "Who're you partnering him with?"
"Montoya," he said,
"She's transferring," it wasn't a question but a statement. Gordon nodded, "Already transferred. After that business with Allen she needed a change of scenery. Between her and Jackson, I'm hoping they can turn around the One-Seven before things get any worse."
"What did the investigation into Wise and Cavallo turn up?"
"Nothing so far, but I wouldn't be surprised if the rats in IAB are on Falcone's payroll too. If Jackson is as good as I've been led to believe, he and Montoya should be able to get enough together to put the entire precinct down for good."
Batman hummed in thought, "You going to bring him in immediately?"
Gordon shook his head, "No, I'm going to sit on it. Montoya knows, but she's under order's not bring him into the fold until she's sure he's clean."
"That sounds like it'll take a while," Robin chipped in, "Wouldn't it be easier for us to take care of this for you?" Gordon actually growled at that, but it was Batman who answered for him,
"No." he said simply, his gaze not leaving Gordon, "This needs to be done the right way, if we're the ones busting bad cops then both Jim and the entire force lose what little credibility they have left." Gordon nodded his head at that,
Robin just scoffed but didn't say anything further,
"When does he start?" Batman asked,
Gordon shrugged, taking another long pull from his pipe, "Supposedly tomorrow," He then turned and looked out at the city, the sound of sirens echoing in the distance, "But this is Gotham. So probably tonight."
The phone on the night stand rang. Blearily, Percy swiped his arm over and snatched it. He didn't recognize the number so he contemplated just shutting the damn thing off and going back to sleep. Sighing, he fought the impulse and brought the phone to his ear. "Jackson" he said. His voice low and husky with sleep.
"Detective Percy Jackson?" the voice on the other end asked, it was feminine with a decidedly hard edge to it.
Sitting up, Percy tried to wipe the sleep from his eyes, "Speaking." he grunted, "Who is this?"
"Sorry for waking you up Detective but this is Stacey Alvarez with the Gotham City Police Department. I know you don't officially start until tomorrow, or rather later today, but unfortunately something has come up. You need to report to the corner of Snyder and Miller, there's been a reported homicide and you've been assigned."
As the woman was speaking, Percy was already getting out of the bed, moving quietly to try and avoid further disturbing the other person in the bed. Pulling on his pants he searched around for where his shirt had landed.
"You're being partnered with Renee Montoya, she's already on the scene and forensics is collecting evidence."
"Thanks Stacy." He said softly into the receiver.
"You're welcome detective, and welcome to Gotham." With that, the line went dead. Putting the phone in his pocket, he reached under the bed and grabbed his shirt, badge, and holster for his sidearm.
"Work?" Came a groggy voice from the bed. Turning he looked at the woman under laying naked under the covers. He dark auburn hair curtaining her face as the moon illuminated her alabaster skin.
"Unfortunately. Guess they couldn't wait until I was even an official member of the force." he replied. "Sorry that I woke you up."
"It's ok, you're not the first cop I've slept with, and I'm a bit of a light sleeper." The woman sat up a little, the covers falling from around her and Percy had to force himself to stay on task. "Don't suppose I could convince you to hang around for a few minutes before you go?" she asked, all traces of drowsiness leaving her at the suggestive nature of her question. Percy chuckled and he leaned back towards her, cupping her cheek and placing a chaste kiss on her lips.
"We both know that if I stay around for anything else, it'll take more than a few minutes." the woman smiled and leaned into his touch a bit.
"Can't blame a girl for trying." she laid back down and snuggled into the bed. And Percy felt an inexplicable need to explain himself a little,
"Just so you know, I'm not the type of guy to normally run out in the middle of the night."
She laughed, "I know Percy. If I thought you were an asshole, I would have left you at the bar." She paused, looking thoughtful, "I don't want to give you the wrong impression though, this was probably only a one-time thing."
Percy smiled at her as he stood up from the bed and threw on his jacket, "I know Vesper, you said as much last night. Don't worry I'm not exactly ready for anything long term myself. Besides, who am I to come in between Gotham and her next greatest radio host?" He joked and smiled again as she laughed. He paused at the door, unsure exactly what to say, "You have a spare key I can use to lock up after I leave?" He asked.
She nodded, "Under the plant in the hallway. Night Percy, stay safe and I'll see you around." with that, she rolled over, and went off back to sleep. Leaving the bedroom, he paused in the kitchen of Vesper's apartment. Taking a piece of paper, he wrote down his name and number with a message that if she wanted company again to give him a call. While he was honest about not looking for any long-term commitments at the moment, he was certainly not going to say no to another night with the red-haired vixen.
He found the spare key, locked her door behind him and left the apartment. Arriving at the parking garage he opened the door to his restored, blue, 1969 Mustang and, after punching his destination into the GPS on his phone, he took off. He didn't need to look too hard for the crime scene. The area was fluorescent with the red and blue lights of patrol cars. Pulling up along the curb he stepped out of the car and approached the yellow crime scene tape in front of the alley just off the street. There was a pair of patrolmen stationed in front of the tape warding off any curious late-night onlookers, of which there were not many. Crime scenes were too common an occurrence in Gotham to warrant the sort of casual attraction Percy had seen in Metropolis.
The patrolmen watched Percy approach, their hands resting firmly on the holsters for their weapons as they scanned him. Good boys, Percy thought, in a city like this one, there was no such thing as too careful.
Reaching under his shirt slowly as he approached, he withdrew his identification and displayed it to the more senior looking of the two officers. "I'm Detective Percy Jackson, just transferred in from Metropolis, I've been assigned to the case." The officer Percy had approached scanned the i.d. and then Percy before sharing a look with his companion.
"One second while I grab Detective Montoya." he said before disappearing into the alleyway. Percy wanted to sigh but couldn't exactly blame the man. He was just being thorough, something he could respect. A minute later the officer reappeared with a woman at his heels. She was tall and dark skinned with black hair and dark brown eyes. Percy felt immediately underdressed as he took in her smart business suit and face mask. She lowered the mask from her face before she nodded at the officer closest to Percy, who lifted the tape to let Percy through. He nodded a thanks to the man before he addressed his new partner. He held her gaze as he extended his hand, which she grabbed in a very firm handshake, almost as though she was trying to crush his hand.
"Detective Montoya? I'm Percy Jackson, nice to work with ya." he said. He kept his voice firm and professional. While he enjoyed cracking the occasional wise ass remark he could tell from a glance that this woman was hard edged and all business. In the boy's club that was law enforcement it wasn't a surprise. It still meant that until he was more comfortable with her, and she him, he would keep things serious and professional. He could tell she liked and respected that in a partner.
"It's a pleasure Jackson," She said, and gods even her voice had an edge of iron to it. She released his hand and handed him multiple pairs of gloves and booties. Percy immediately slipped the booties on over his shoes, but waited to put the gloves on. "We can get to know each other later, right now we've got a grisly one." Montoya said, her face grimacing slightly as she handed him his own mask
"That bad?" he asked, and she just nodded. Percy took a deep breath to steel himself and he put the mask on over his mouth and nose. His partner turned back to the alley and led the pair to the scene.
"Forensics just finished up a few minutes ago. Evidence is already on its way to processing." she started without preamble. "No i.d. on the vic as of yet, I have someone running her picture against missing persons but I'll be honest, I'm not incredibly hopeful that we'll catch anything on that yet. She was shot three times. Twice in the back, and once more, right between the eyes. Hard to say without the weapon but judging by the size and shape of the bullet wounds, we are likely dealing with small caliber."
"No sign of the weapon I'm guessing?" Percy asked,
"Of course not, that would make this easy." Montoya snarked, "I've got patrols canvassing the area, checking gutters and garbage to see if it was ditched somewhere but no luck so far. Anyways, the M.E. reported bruising along the ribs, and what is likely cerebral hemorrhaging. That being said, it looks like our girl tried to fight back a bit. The alley is pretty thoroughly trashed. Her knuckles are bruised pretty bad too so hopefully we can pull something off of her that will lead us to something here."
He was saved from a reply by their arrival on the scene. It was ugly. The girl was on the younger side of fourteen, and looked like she had been beaten with a pipe. Her left eye was completely swollen shut, and her right eye was open, but bloodshot. Her nose was twisted and broken and a trail of dried blood leaked out of one nostril staining her dress shirt. However, what really drew his attention was the lack of any obvious exit wounds in the woman's chest. It suggested a smaller caliber weapon, likely a .22 or .9.
Percy bit back bile and tried his best not lose his composure. It wasn't the first time he had seen something like this and it certainly wouldn't be his last. That didn't stop anger and disgust that welled up inside of him, the tempest of emotions trying to come loose. No matter the scene, things were always worse when kids were involved. Taking another deep breath, he collected himself and began looking back at the girl, this time focusing on what she was wearing, "Looks like a school uniform," he said, more to himself than to Montoya, but she still hummed in agreement,
"I was thinking the same thing,"
"Know any nearby schools with a dress code?" Percy asked, turning to look at his partner.
She shrugged, "Gotham Academy, think she's a student?"
"Wouldn't hurt to see how many of their freshmen are missing tomorrow morning."
Montoya agreed before moving on and discussing something with a couple of patrolmen. Standing up, Percy took a walk over to a series of garbage cans that were strewn across the backside of the ally, their contents spilled and the bags inside having burst adding to the mess and misery of the scene.
One of the bins was dented rather badly on one side, the flag marking the bin as evidence told him that forensics also thought that something useful might be pulled from there. Next, he looked at the discarded trash itself. While Percy had only been a detective for two years, he had been partnered with a man in Metropolis who had been working homicide since before Superman had even existed. As such, the man had a wealth of knowledge that he had tried to pass on to Percy before he tragically passed away in the incident a few months ago. One such nugget of wisdom was to always have multiple eyes, look over multiple parts of the scene multiple times. You never knew what someone might notice out of the corner of their eye.
Which was why after his first pass over the discarded trash refuse, he looked away for a moment, letting his eyes focus on something else, before going over the area again. A moment later, he was glad that he did. On the ground, among the milk cartons and pizza boxes, was a small bracelet. The bracelet was corded silver with intricate golden inlays and a small emerald jewel hanging onto the side. From the angle at which the bracelet was sitting, he couldn't make out what the jewel was depicting. He called out to his new partner, "Hey Montoya, does one of our girl's wrists have a small tan line on it, something that could have been caused by a small bracelet or something?" He didn't take his eyes off of the bracelet, he was paranoid he would lose it if he looked away, so he heard more than saw Montoya move over to check on the girl's wrists.
"Her right wrist has a small tan line, definitely something that could have come from wearing a bracelet. You got something over there?"
"Yeah, someone bring a camera over." Not a moment later, there was an officer with a camera in her hands at Percy's side. Percy pointed out the small bracelet, and had the officer photograph the bracelet from several different angles. When she was done, Percy took off his old gloves before putting a new layer over top. He didn't want to contaminate any potential evidence from his fingers when he had touched the wall, with the anything that was potentially on the bracelet. Something like this could be something, or could be nothing. It was impossible to tell this early into an investigation. Picking up the bracelet he examined it more carefully, the jewelry was not what he was expecting. It was like a runic circle or a pentagram, but in the center was a humanoid figure. He had the officer with the camera take a few more photos, this time focusing on the jewel, then Percy put the item in an evidence bag, sealed the bag, and handed it off to a nearby officer to send to the lab for analysis.
Pulling his gloves off again, Percy rubbed at the stubble on his face, Montoya walked over, "What did you find?" she asked,
"A small bracelet bracelet; could be something or it could be nothing. But it was made of gold, silver and emerald. I'm no jeweler but that piece alone couldn't have come cheap." She nodded, and Percy continued, "You were right earlier, it definitely looks like she put up a fight. The dent in that garbage bin over there is way too big to belong to her. You have the guys run a luminal test yet? Or are they waiting till we leave?"
"They wanted to wait for you to have a pass over the area before they started spraying." She said, "Think they're going to find anything?"
Percy shrugged, "Hard to say, but the guy was sloppy, probably wasn't expecting her to fight back like she did. I'm willing to bet they can pull something off of the walls that we just can't see." he then looked back at the garbage, and then out passed the alley and across the street. There were several large apartment buildings directly across the street from the alley, better yet, several of the apartments with windows facing the alley had lights on. "I'm also willing to bet that whatever happened here, caused a hell of a lot of noise. Someone was likely to at least hear something if not outright seen it. I say we head out, canvas a couple of these apartment buildings and see what we can-you're shaking your head, why are you shaking your head no?"
The look she gave him was almost pitying, "Don't take this the wrong way Jackson, you seem like you got a grasp on your shit, but you gotta remember you're not in Metropolis anymore. When people in Gotham hear shit start to go down, they don't call 9-1-1. They don't report it. They close their blinds and turn up their TV. Even if someone saw something, they sure as hell won't be about to say anything." She took a breath as she collected her thoughts and as she tried figure out how to explain this to Percy, "Look, before The Bat showed up, this was a mob town. People who talked, hell if they even looked at cops, found themselves on a one-way trip to the morgue."
Percy supposed he could understand that, he was from New York after all, and you heard things, but still… "But hasn't The Bat been around for a while now? Hell, he's even running around with a kid these days. Surely people don't feel that threatened anymore."
She shrugged, "Yes and no, you gotta understand Jackson, I grew up here, I understand how Gotham thinks, and it's hard to break literal decades of forced obliviousness."
Percy thought about it for a minute. He understood what she was saying, and part of him had to concede that she raised good points. "Alright, look, I get what you're saying. And this is your city, like you said you grew up here. But I still don't see the harm in at least having a couple officers canvas a little, at least with a picture going door to door in the morning. Maybe someone is feeling a little more cooperative?"
Montoya just shrugged. She liked that the new guy was deferring to her here and she also liked that he was taking this so seriously. The Commissioner had told her that her new partner had a hell of a conviction record. More importantly, he had told her that Percy Jackson was very thorough. She liked that in a partner. She felt pretty positive that it wasn't going to lead anywhere but she had to concede that it wouldn't hurt anything and so she told him as much.
Percy was about to respond but before he could a uniformed officer jogged up to them, "Sorry to interrupt detectives, but I got a lady here who says she was the one to call it in."
Percy shot Montoya a cheeky grin, to which his new partner responded with an eye roll before they followed the officer. Before they approached the woman at the opening to the alley, Percy consciously slowed his pace, allowing his partner to be the first on approach. He fully intended to allow her to take the lead on this case. Something that was not missed by Montoya. So far, her new partner was proving himself to be more than competent.
The woman was older, in early thirties, with streaky blonde hair that was curled up in a messy bun on her head. She was wearing a heavy coat to protect her from the autumn wind and sporadic rainfall, but her legs were covered by thin, blue, hospital scrubs. The older looking officer with her introduced the woman to the detectives.
"Detectives," the older man said gesturing to the woman, "This is Miss Hanson, she says she might have seen something."
"Good evening, Miss Hanson," said Montoya politely, before indicating herself and Percy, "I'm detective Montoya, and this is detective Jackson. Why don't you tell us about what you saw?"
The woman shifted uncomfortably under the scrutiny of the two detectives but she gathered her courage and recounted what she saw, "I had just gotten home, I'm an ER nurse at Gotham General, and I got held up assisting with a four car pileup on '37 so I got home later than usual." she took a shaky breath, her gaze flitting down the alleyway, "I was getting ready to make a quick dinner when I heard yelling from outside. I-I just figured it was some kids arguing, you know? Didn't really think anything of it. But then the shouting got louder and then the screaming started."
She took another breath, closing her eyes as though trying to wipe what she had seen from her memory, "I got worried so I decided to take a look," she pointed up at a series of windows overlooking the alley, "I live in that apartment on the corner, sits right over the alley. I watched a-as this guy was beating this girl." She was shaking, tugging the sides of her jacket closer to her, "She tried fighting back, she got him good a few times too. Kicked him in balls before she managed to push him into those some garbage cans. She tried to run but the guy h-he was just too quick. I saw him pull a gun and he just-just…he sh-shot her. Two times in the back. She-she fell, and then she started bleeding, and he just walked over and he-he…" she couldn't finish as she started crying.
While Percy was sympathetic to the woman, watching someone get executed was among one of the most horrific things someone could witness, but they needed more information from her. Montoya was of the same mind.
"Ma'am," she said gently, "I understand this is difficult, but we need to know. Did you get a good look at the man who did this?" Percy knew the answer before she even said anything. The alley was dark, the only light right then was coming from the myriad of lights that had been set up by the crime scene analysts. Prior to that, Percy figured the only light in the alley would have been coming from the full moon, and whatever was sneaking in from street lights.
Miss Hanson shook her head, "No, it was too dark." she said, "But um, he was tallish, maybe around six feet. Kind of scrawny, he was wearing a dark coat and um a sweatshirt underneath and he had the hood up, so I couldn't see his face."
Percy had been expecting as much, it would have been far too much to ask for them to have caught a break like that, "What did he do after he killed her?" Percy asked as gently as he could,
The woman turned her attention to him, "He, um, he started to search her. Was going through her pockets or something, maybe he was looking for a wallet or something, I don't know but he didn't find anything I don't think because he got really mad and just started kicking her." And a new wave of tears began flowing down the woman's cheeks, "Who does something like that. To a little girl?" she asked hopelessly, closing in on herself.
Percy shared a look with Montoya; they wouldn't be getting anything else out of her tonight. Montoya reached into a coat pocket and withdrew a card, handing it to the woman she said, "Thank you very much Miss Hanson, you've been very helpful. If you think of anything else, please, give me a call." The woman just gave a shaky nod before accepting the card. Percy gave the patrol officer a subtle gesture and the man nodded before gently grabbing Miss Hanson by the arm and guiding her away.
Sticking his hands into his pockets, Percy frowned in thought. Something about all of this just wasn't sitting right with him.
"You feel it too huh?" Montoya was asking, shaking out of his reverie, Percy looked at the other woman. She wasn't looking at him, instead she was watching the retreating figure of Miss Hanson. Feeling his gaze on her, she said, "This isn't just a simple mugging gone wrong."
Percy grunted in agreement, "I was thinking the same thing. Who tries to mug a fourteen-year old?" Percy shook his, no it sounds to me like he was looking for something." Sighing, Percy checked his watch, quarter after three in the morning. He groaned, "It's going to be one of those days, I can already feel it."
Montoya just hummed in agreement, before checking her own watch. "We won't be getting anything else done right now." She said, as she began walking out of the alley towards the squad cars. "Let's call it and regroup in the morning, hopefully by then the labs will have something for us."
Percy jogged after her, "Sounds good to me. I've been meaning to ask by the way," he said gesturing back to the crime scene as they passed a group of forensics cops in full hazmat gear as they walked into the alleyway, "Why are we taking this? We're major crimes, right? Not to downplay the death of a kid but shouldn't this be Homicides collar?" he asked,
Montoya chuckled darkly as they got to their individual vehicles. "This is Gotham, Metropolis." She said, and Percy groaned at the nickname, "We don't have the manpower to avoid splitting hairs." She got into her car, before turning the engine over and reversing away from the curb. Just before she pulled away, she rolled her window down and said,
"Welcome to the One-Seven detective. You're going to hate it here."
AN: Alright so after the positive feedback I got in the reviews for Protector, I decided to go ahead and post the first chapter of this. I've been on a crime novel binge recently and just couldn't get the idea out of my head, it plays with a one-shot I wrote forever ago and tweaked it a lot, fleshed out the plot a fair bit overhauled a lot of the issues I had with the original piece. This is going to be a severely different Percy to what most of you have seen. Not totally unique for my stories but this one even more so. Like most of my work, you won't know much about Percy from the get go, instead you're going to learn about as other characters get close and learn about him. I don't know if this is going to evolve into anything substantial yet, but I'll go ahead and post the chapters I've written over the next few weeks and see if there is any love for it. Please, let me know what you think, I'm hoping that this is a unique take on an under-loved and underappreciated trope, and I hope you enjoy.