OMG, I'm trying to update stuff that I've left unattended for ages, and incidentally, I haven't updated Noir since June…
So… I'm doing it now.
Detective Dick Grayson woke up later than he would have liked; since when he saw the time on his alarm clock (which had, of course, failed to go off) he jerked fully awake, swore under his breath and sat up abruptly.
An action which caused him to cringe in agony – a double whammy combo of the after-effects of his beating and the after-effects of falling asleep on top of his covers, fully-clothed. He paused for a moment or two, trying to pull himself together; for indeed, it did feel as though someone had taken an axe to him, hacked him into about six different bits and then tossed them into different corners of the room.
Although there weren't enough corners in a square room to each have a sixth of a person tossed into them.
His vision point-blank refused to clear itself up completely. His head was still carting around that splitting headache. The rest of his body ached all over too, some parts worse than others. His right arm perhaps more than anything – it felt dead, and there was a burning near the crook of his arm.
And here came last night's Billy D—
He made it to the sink without a moment to spare and spent an awful five minutes over it emptying his insides. He had a feeling the heroin – the euphoric high of which had completely worn off by now – might have had something to do with the nausea; not that he cared while in the act of spewing into the sink…
He was late, but what the hell; he pulled off yesterday's sweaty, wrinkled clothes and got into the shower, and the heat of the water was the first thing that had felt good against his bruised skin since… well, since he had acquired the damn things. The heroin hadn't soothed them – only masked them.
He examined the tiny prick-mark on his arm as he lathered his hair. There was no doubt that it had felt good, that hit… But it was drugs, and Robin… No, he did not want to get involved in drugs. He couldn't believe Roy's stupidity; yes, it felt good. That was why Roy did it, ultimately. But it was expensive, and dangerous, and there were some truly evil people down there in the drugs underworld…
And for petesakes, Roy was a GCPD detective for the Narcotics Department. He was supposed to help bust the people who dealt in this stuff, not take it himself…
And so, while it lurked at the back of his mind that it might feel good to take another hit, and maybe another, and… He couldn't be like Roy. He just couldn't do that to himself.
He finished up his shower, toweled off, brushed his teeth and pulled on some clean clothes; before roughly rubbing his hair dry, pulling on his coat and hat, and leaving his apartment in a rush. The shower had made him even later, but it had been worth it – he didn't feel nearly so schleppy. He had gone out without breakfast, but a first-thing office coffee with Vic would make him feel better.
Despite his running late, he made it to the precinct in good time via cab and was actually only a few minutes late, according to the clock on the office wall.
"Vic?" He called, shutting the door. "You here?"
The whole precinct seemed pretty dead, actually. He hadn't bumped into anyone in the halls coming up to the office, which was unusual, given the number of departments the GCPD had.
Shrugging, Robin went over to the coffee maker and made himself a cup, leaving it hot so Vic could make himself a cup when he finally decided to show up.
But the minutes passed, and still no Vic. Robin heard the opening and closing of doors up and down the halls, indicating that there were people here – but no-one came near the Criminal Intelligence office, and eventually Robin, after finishing his coffee, got up and left the office. He could go down to the information office on the ground floor and ask if Vic had called in sick. Gar, too – there hadn't been any sign of him either, come to think of it.
Halfway down there, to his immense bemusement, he saw the two women from the information desk go scurrying past him in an upwards direction. Stopping and turning, he watched them go, puzzled. What was going on around here this morning?
He followed them up; until he came to a corridor which he knew – and that was because he'd been here only last night. There was a crowd of GCPD employees in the hall; uniformed officers, secretaries, phone girls, detectives, officials…
He was about to ask someone what the hell was going on; but was startled when some detective he recognized faintly as being another member of Crime Scene Investigation suddenly pointed at him and yelled;
"It's Grayson! Somebody tell Lieutenant Wayne!"
The message was passed up the crowded corridor as Robin stood there in shock. After a few tense moments, during which other GCPD personnel shot him weird looks, the door at the end of the corridor opened and Bruce Wayne – looking rather harassed and white in the face – leaned out.
"Grayson!" He snapped. "Get in here!"
The crowd parted to let him through; but Robin barely paid any attention to the people on either side of him. His heart was thudding his chest out of sudden worry and concern.
Because the room that Wayne had just leaned out of was Detective Roy Harper's office.
There was CSI police tape across the threshold, which Robin ducked under to enter the room before shutting the door behind him.
Here was the answer to his question; Vic was in here. So was Gar, and another member of CSI. Wayne. Bullock. Even Commissioner Gordon. They were joined by a few uniformed officers Robin didn't recognize, and some additional personnel in white coats. He only recognized one of them, and ironically, she was the only woman – red-haired, slender, lustrous.
Dr Pamela Isley, of the Botany and Medicine Dept.
Roy wasn't here.
"What's… going on?" Robin asked softly. "Where's Roy?"
"Detective Harper," Bruce Wayne replied tiredly, rubbing at his temples, "is the reason we are here."
Robin shook his head.
"I… I don't…"
Robin jumped at the sound of Dr Isley's voice; and an Antarctic blizzard thundered suddenly throughout his entire body.
"Dead…?" He repeated faintly. "B-but… that's impossible… I was… last night I was with him, and… he was fine."
"He was fine until he stuck himself with three needles worth of junk," Bullock put in harshly. "OD'd, which is no surprise…"
"That's enough, Bullock," Gordon snapped; he turned to Wayne. "Bruce, what are we going to do about this? This is terrible…"
Robin stood on his own, the nearest to the door, while everyone else sank their teeth into the tragedy. Gar and the other CSI detective had obviously been brought up here to do the full-room search procedure. Bullock was here in case it had been a tampered-with death. Wayne and Gordon were here because this was going to look awful on record unless they did something about it. Isley and the other scientists were here to examine the substance that had caused Roy to OD. Vic…
Robin had no idea why Vic was here; but he seemed to be busy, taking notes as he talked in a corner with a white-coated doctor.
And Robin himself just stood there – icy cold inside, feeling a guilt more terrible and aching than anything he had ever felt before taking hold of his heart and squeezing it.
Roy had asked him to stay.
Now Roy was dead.
If Robin had stayed… would Roy still be alive?
He didn't know. He had been on the drug too at that point. It was clear that Roy had made himself up another hit while still under the influence of the first one, most likely because, while on his heroin-fueled happy half-hour, the dangers of another hit seemed non-existent. God only knew how much Roy had put into that second needle…
But if Robin had stayed with him… could he have stopped him? Probably not – not in the state he had been in himself. He probably would have been sucked in, and persuaded to take another hit himself. And that would have been two OD cases this morning instead of just the one.
But… if he had been strong enough, if he had just stuck with his original "No"… He would have had the sense to stay with Roy, and he wouldn't have let him take that fatal second hit.
"You were here with him."
Robin jumped, looking up at Bruce Wayne; who was, by this point, standing over him, his arms folded.
"Y-yes… I was, but… how…?"
"Aside from the fact that you told us yourself just now, I wanted you in here because I know you were with him last night," Wayne snapped; he held up Robin's red tie as though it was a snake. "Your little trademark – the red tie. No-one else in the GCPD wears a red tie, Grayson." He thrust it at him, as though in disgust. "Perhaps you'd like to explain to me what your tie is doing on the floor of Detective Harper's office."
Robin, despite his guilt for what he had done, and what he had as good as allowed Roy to do, suddenly got the terrible feeling he was actually being accused of something else – something that he hadn't done…
Bruce Wayne flexed his hands a few times when Robin just stood there, gaping wordlessly at him.
"Alright, I'm going to ask you a few questions," he said finally, folding his arms. "And I want you to answer them honestly. Do you understand me?"
"Good. Were you here with Detective Harper last night?"
"Yes. But I—"
"When were you here with him?"
"I… I don't know exactly. Between about half one to three in the morning."
"He was on night shift, is that correct?"
"Yes," Robin answered warily; he wasn't sure he liked the direction in which this was going…
"Why were you here?"
Robin coughed out an irritated little sigh, indicating his split lip and bruised jawline; the rest of his injuries were covered up by his clothes.
"Police business. I didn't fare too good, and Roy… found me. Brought me back to his office to recover."
Wayne's eyes narrowed.
"I distinctly remember Dr Quinzel telling you to go home," he said dangerously.
"It was a private… uh, errand," Robin fabricated, praying that Vic and Gar wouldn't contradict him. They didn't, but they were both watching him intently by now.
They all were.
"So…" Wayne said slowly, "it's safe to say that you and Harper were here alone in his office in the early hours of this morning?"
"Tell us about the drugs," Bullock cut in nastily.
Robin turned his icy gaze on the Homicide detective.
"What about them?"
"Did he take any of these hits while you were with him?" Wayne continued.
"One word answers will do, Grayson," Gordon interrupted coolly. "Just tell the Lieutenant what he wants to know."
Frustrated beyond belief, all Robin could do was nod and grit his teeth.
"Alright, one final question, Detective Grayson," Wayne said, a raised eyebrow accompanying his words. "And while it may be instinct for you to deny it, let me remind you that you have sworn to tell the truth."
Robin nodded, his heart still doing the jitterbug inside his ribcage. Alright, he wasn't a coward – he'd confess to taking the drug; he'd roll up his sleeve, show them the mark. They could do what they liked to him in punishment, for after all, he agreed that he deserved it; but he wouldn't deny it.
After what seemed like an eternity of silence, Bruce Wayne finally spoke:
"Did you, last night, have sexual intercourse with Detective Harper?"
He said it quickly, as though a little embarrassed about having to say it at all; and the silence that followed it was the obvious, roaring kind – as though that of a wave building momentum and height right before it comes crashing down onto the shore.
And the question itself hit Robin like that wave – knocking him down in the absence of something to protect himself with and leaving him soaked through to the bone.
For another eternity, no-one uttered a sound – Robin because he couldn't, and everyone else because they wouldn't.
"Wh… what?" Robin managed to choke out finally, his eyes wide.
"You heard what I said." Bruce Wayne wouldn't meet his gaze. "Just a simple 'yes' or 'no' answer will be fine, detective."
"No." Robin's voice was shaking, but he had never felt anything as strongly or firmly. "No, I didn't."
Wayne blinked at him; clearly that wasn't the answer he had been expecting.
"Grayson, you swore to tell the truth—"
"I am!" Robin snapped, furious. "How dare you even suggest that I would—"
"Grayson, don't speak to Lieutenant Wayne like that!" Gordon cut in angrily. "Show more respect for your superiors."
"But I didn't!" Robin almost screeched. He looked around them all, as though they had all suddenly become, in his eyes, distorted, horrendous alien creatures. "Where are you getting this from?!" He stormed in continuation. "A tie on the freaking floor?! I can't—"
"Ah, shaddap, ya sleazy little fag!" Bullock snapped, cutting him off with a sudden hard smack to the face.
It caught Robin right where Slade had hit him last night – and for that reason, was incredibly painful and caused a serious bone-jarring impact. His partially-healed lip immediately opened again and he felt blood spurt from his nose too as he staggered against Roy's desk. Leaning over it, getting his breath back, Robin watched a few crimson drops hit the wooden surface; anger and despair rising in him even as he tried to collect his wits.
"Hey, don't hit him!"
Vic – and he sounded pissed off.
But maybe only pissed off because it was disrespectful for a man to hit his colleague; not pissed off because of the reason.
Or maybe even because it was him.
"Ooh, whaddaya going t'do, Stone?" Bullock taunted, even as Robin hauled himself upright again.
"Boys, I think that's enough," Dr Isley cut in sharply. She looked at Bullock with dislike. "I don't think that was necessary, detective."
Bullock opened his mouth, mostly likely to fire off something rude to her as well; but Gordon stepped up, looking highly unimpressed.
"Detective Bullock, don't let me see you ever doing that again," he said coldly.
But that was it. He said nothing more; and as Robin turned back to them all, wiping his bloody face on his sleeve, he noticed that not one of them came near him. Vic looked like he had attempted to make a move to, and Gar was gazing sadly at him, but no-one…
"I didn't," he said again, his breath shaky. "I swear to you that I didn't. You can… I dunno, test me, or whatever… But I didn't."
"Alright." Bruce Wayne sighed; as though he had been hoping that Robin would admit to the ludicrous accusation. "Alright, detective. I'll take your word for it."
He turned to Gordon, and they began to compare hushed notes – Bullock divided his attention between trying to listen in and shooting disgusted glares in Robin's general direction.
Numb, Robin felt that his already-weak legs were about to give out on him; and he sank wordlessly into the chair at Roy's desk in which he had been curled last night, talking to Tim Drake.
How in all of hell could they possibly have jumped to such a ridiculous conclusion? A tie left on the floor? Okay, a tad suspicious, but there were a hundred other reasons for its being there – and as it happened, the true reason for its being there was one of those hundred others…
"Alright, let's overview," Wayne announced, suddenly raising his voice a little. He glanced at Bullock. "Detective Bullock, I think you can rest easy on this one. This looks to be a straight-up accidental overdose on Harper's part, not a homicide."
Bullock grumbled a little under his breath and adjusted the brim of his gray fedora.
"The drug taken was pure-cut heroin. Time of death was probably around five in the morning, according to a rough body temperature check. The body shows all the signs of a fatal overdose, most notably vomiting and dilated pupils. Detective Grayson has testified to being here with Harper between the hours of one and three in the morning, meaning that that while he was present for Harper's first hit, he was not for the second and third. Harper obviously never got around to cleaning up the evidence of his little binge, as the CSI unit has bagged up the remaining heroin, spoons and heating device, and three used hypodermic needles."
"Three fuckin' needles," Bullock snorted. "So we got us a junkie and a fag together in the one room—"
"Bullock!" Gordon snapped. "I recall Lieutenant Wayne mentioning that this did not fall into your department. That was your cue to leave."
Bullock's cruel comment, however, was lost to Robin; he was too busy mulling over the piece of information he had just heard reinstated twice within the space of a minute.
Three needles had been found? Only three? But Robin himself had taken a hit, so he accounted for one of them – that meant Roy had only taken two. Still more than enough for an overdose, especially in such a short space of time, but Robin knew it could be no more than two, because Roy had said himself, hadn't he, that he never used the same needle more than once, even on himself?…
"He didn't take three hits," he said suddenly, abruptly standing up. "He only took two."
Wayne eyed him warily.
"We found three needles, Grayson."
"I know." Robin unbuttoned his sleeve and wrenched it up. "…And one of those hits was me."
"I hope you realize how much fucking trouble you're in, Grayson!" Lieutenant-in-Chief Bruce Wayne seethed across the desk.
So it was mandatory – and really, what else had he expected?
After his admittance to joining Roy on his little Happyland Quest, he had been quite literally and physically hauled down to Wayne's office for a "private chat". Just him and Wayne – and Gordon too, but the commissioner was standing well back, not even sitting at the desk with them, and not saying a word.
To say that Bruce Wayne was furious was the understatement of 1948.
But the man massaged his temples for a moment or two, as though trying to soothe a serious headache.
"Alright," he sighed heavily. "Let's go through this again. You took heroin with Detective Harper?"
Robin hesitated for just a moment.
"Yes," he answered finally. "I did, sir."
"Around two in the morning."
"Was this before or after his first hit?"
"Why did you take it?"
Robin shrugged helplessly.
"I… I don't know," he replied in a tiny voice.
"Are you a regular user?"
"Have you ever taken any kind of drug before?"
"Ah, I see. A nice little one-off experience. Time to cast off the worries for an hour or two." Wayne smiled sourly. "How lovely. I do hope you enjoyed yourselves."
His face suddenly twisting savagely, Wayne leaned across the desk, startling the young Criminal Intelligence detective.
"I'm going to tell you something about the heroin you crammed into your veins last night, Grayson," he hissed. "It was stolen. Harper was taking it directly from the lock-up, to which he had the key, being the only narcotics detective here in the GCPD precinct. And obviously, due to his being the only narcotics personnel, he thought no-one would notice if he siphoned a little heroin here and there to feed his addiction. Of course we noticed – we just didn't know who to put the blame on. Harper has a history of heroin addiction on his record, of course; but we had no proof it was him. He always cleared up after himself so very carefully…"
"H-how do you know it was from the lock-up?" Robin asked faintly.
"Harper himself headed a drugs bust-up a week ago," Wayne explained icily. "Took in over six pounds of pure, brand new heroin, ready to hit the streets. The heroin found left over this morning matches it. It's clean, gives a more intense rush – and it's far easier to OD on."
Wayne leaned back in his chair again, folding his arms.
"So… interesting situation you're in, wouldn't you say?" He murmured. "You take heroin, an illegal substance, on the GCPD premises – something which you should have arrested Detective Harper for, Grayson, not joined him in. But it doesn't stop there, because the heroin you took was stolen GCPD property; property that was locked up for a reason. To top it all off, Detective Harper is dead, and you are in very serious trouble."
Robin put his head in his hands for a moment or two; his entire body was shaking, and he couldn't even tell if he felt too hot or too cold, or even…
"Wh-what can I do?" He whispered finally.
"Do?" Wayne echoed incredulously, and he almost laughed. "Grayson, there's nothing you can do. You're fired."
Robin's head jerked up.
"Fired?" He repeated faintly.
Wayne gave him an almost helpless shrug.
"Well, of course you are. Frankly, Grayson, you're lucky not to have been arrested yourself. But I can't let you keep your job. News travels fast in this city and it would reflect terribly on the force; and if Harper was still alive, he'd be out on his ass too."
"B-but… the Blood case!" Robin desperately. "Vic and I—"
"Detective Stone is capable of managing without you until we find your replacement," Wayne interrupted icily, his tone clipped and dangerous.
Robin looked desperately at Gordon; but the commissioner just shook his head at him.
"I'm sorry, son. We all have to pay the price for our mistakes."
Bruce Wayne stood up.
"I want you out by noon," he said calmly. "That gives you the rest of the morning to pack up your stuff. Leave your gun, license and crest at reception. If you ask CSI nicely, they'll even give you a box for your possessions."
He held out his hand in a serene manner. Robin stared at it for a moment or two before realizing that Wayne was offering to shake. With nothing else to do but accept the fate he'd brought upon himself, Robin weakly grasped Wayne's larger hand and let the man sway it up and down. The shake was devoid of anything but a professional obligation, and Robin wanted badly to snatch his hand back.
"It's been good having you on the force, detective," Wayne said emotionlessly.
"Yes," Robin replied weakly. "Thankyou, sir."
Wayne let his hand go and Robin backed away from the desk. Gordon offered him a little nod, which Robin acknowledged but couldn't return, due to his shock and horror. He backed against the door, felt desperately for the handle, pulled it open and quickly slipped out, his head down.
"It's a shame," Gordon noted once Robin's uneven footsteps had died away; lighting up his pipe. "He was a smart detective; good kid."
"Yeah," Bruce replied venomously, not turning to his friend and superior. "They always are, Jim…"
Ugh, yeah… I mean, I can't even write ANs for this anymore, because I wrote this months and months ago and can't remember what was going through my head at the time…
There must be a reason for them thinking that Robin and Speedy got it on (which they didn't, as you know), but… I can't remember for the life of me what the hell it is…