Renee Montoya woke up later than usual, it was almost one p.m. when the young detective got out of bed. It had been too hot that night and she had a slight headache, she sluggishly marched into the bathroom, her dark hair messy and sticky. She had on loose draw string black cotton pants and a matching tee-shirt, her typical bed-wear.
She had to work that night, which seemed okay, it had been a slow last night, just looking up some older unsolved cases and following up on a few leads, nothing out of the way. It was a kind of nice after No Man's Land, just taking it easy for a little while, resting, breathing, showering every morning, and brushing twice a day. She laughed softly at the thought, and started a nice cool shower. Her thick hair soaked up the cool water, and it felt so nice and relaxing, it also helped her wake up. It was just what she needed after a nice long, peaceful night's sleep, in a big warm bed.
She got out and put on a white cotton robe and walked in the kitchen/living room of her nice apartment, it was a simple place, a few nice pieces of this or that, a couple antique looking things, nothing special or out of place. A very magazine look, of an apartment. She liked that a lot, it was changeable, nothing so permanent or distinct, and the simple calming surroundings. It was orderly and well kept, but not out of her way clean or anything, the hamper in the bathroom over flowed a little and there were a couple dishes in the sink. Sometimes she even forgot and left her TV on, it was nice...and normal. Renee thought she liked that part most of all.
She made herself a bowl of cereal, a light breakfast would be good in this heat, besides, she still felt a little groggy and didn't feel like cooking anything much that morning. After she casually ate her cereal watching the weather and flipping around the channels to see nothing much good on she went and got dressed. She opened her sliding closet door and pulled out a pair of tight light blue jeans and a black tank top, very tight fitting. She got dressed quickly, leaving her robe on the bed in a bunch.
She pulled, her just a bit longer than shoulder length, dark hair back into a pony tail, and put on a little mascara, a touch of eye liner, and some lipstick. She had to get used to wearing make up again, considering she never wore it in No Man's Land, and she hardly wore any now. She grabbed her gray and white sneakers from the floor and pulled them on lacing them up quickly and putting a tight knot and little bow shaped tie. She jumped to her feet, looked in the mirror, smiled, and walked out of the bathroom flipping off the light.
She grabbed her purple Mudd purse and walked out the door, locking it quickly, and heading over to her new black Grande Prix, she unlocked it and jumped in swiftly. She slammed the door, and started it up, she pulled out and started down the street. Her first stop of the day was the drug store, she needed Advil, matches, soda, water, and a pack of gum never hurt. She went into the store, the automatic doors letting her in. She grabbed all her items quickly and stood in the candy isle looking over the large variety of gum. Sugar free, reduced sugar, low calorie, fat free, (that one always confused her, because how could you gain anything from it unless you swallowed it) deep cleaning, extra fresh, new flavors, extra bubble, non bubble.
She was debating trying a new bubble with whiting action cleaning while you chew, when she noticed the young women next to her seemed to be having the same problem deciding which gum would be best for the day. The blonde next to her smacked the gum in her mouth loudly while whispering to herself the names, brands, styles, of the gum, her small fingers ran along the different brands. She smiled at Renee, it was almost startling...and familiar.
"They say variety is the spice of life...oy" The blonde squeaked out grabbing a handful of different gums, and walking out of the isle she said to Renee, "Good luck picking one." Renee didn't say anything, but she smiled, and grabbed the regular bubblegum. She paid for her stuff and got back into her car, she went to the grocery store, and stopped by Macy's, they had shoes on sale and she saw a beautiful red pair that caught her eye. On her way back to her car, some rude person had double parked a big purple Mercedes', with two big spotted dogs inside, they were hot and had reverted to licking the windows. After stopping to eat she started home.
Renee got home about an hour before her shift started at eight, and it usually ended at three a.m. She didn't have to work nights, she was a detective after all now, but the office was always so quiet and peaceful, and very few people worked so late. Besides, just in case anything important happened she would be there, and it usually happened at night. She knew she wouldn't work those hours too long, but for now, they were comforting. And when she felt ready, she'd go to a day shift.
She'd been lonely lately, she admitted that, at least to herself. No Man's Land had been hard on everyone, and since then so much had been happening to start over, and her being detective. She was getting reassured again, and the space was so nice, but lonely, she knew she ought to call her parents soon and see how they were doing. But she knew she needed to get out and do something non-work related and non-chore related soon. She didn't have a lot to do to get ready for work, she put on her uniform, smirked at her badge.
She took the gun from the holster on her belt and checked how many bullets it had in it, she fumbled getting it open, and when it was open she almost dropped it, two shiny bullets fell to the floor with a clunk. She picked them up and felt their weight in her hand, she put them back into the gun without any thought to it, and fully loaded it up. Then put it back into her holster, she changed her shoes, grabbed her hat. She shut off the lights in her apartment and stood at the door a moment to reflect, but she wasn't sure what she was reflecting on.
Something had been eating at her a little inside, she wasn't sure what though, that was the strange thing. She had this feeling, like when you have a dream that really startles you, and you can feel it running through your veins, but you can't really remember anything about the dream. That was the feeling, the feeling that something was unsettled inside of her, but she didn't know what, and yet she had some faint recollection that it was connected to No Man's Land.
She decided not to think about it anymore, she locked her door. The smell of Gotham city at night. The dusty smell of Gotham, a soft mist in the damp, warm air that clung to her face and tinged her hair. It was the faint stars in an over populated city full of high, cold, hard buildings, and the big yellow moon, low in a purple clouded sky. The moon that could never be as high as the hopes that made the sky scrapers climb into the stars that hung gently in a big dense sky.
Detective Montoya felt something strange stir inside her, it disturbed her, but for an unknown reason she didn't understand. She got into her car, which had a police radio and siren she could place on top in emergencies. She glanced at her radio, the station had been changed. She quickly looked in the back seat, and all around. Nothing unusual, nothing strange or out of place any where. Maybe she just forgot she had changed the station, she started the car, caution residing in her thoughts as she pulled out.
Harley Quinn came into the uptown big apartment with the two big hyena's and she slammed the door behind her, Joker stood up saying, "What took so long??!?" In a harsh voice, he would have used whether it took Harley ten minutes or ten hours to complete the task.
"You told me to follow her all day!" she squealed plopping down on the big soft sofa in the middle of the lavish and expensive penthouse.
"Well?" He looked at her asking with his hand on his hip, in his purple suit with a silk short purple robe over it, which Harley said made him look sophisticated.
She sighed putting her feet on the coffee table saying, "Well, I followed her, and.." She stopped and dug into her purse until she pulled out a small hand held radio and receiver, with a big smile on her face she held them up saying, "Well, I did it! I did exactly what you told me to do! I got into her car, and hooked up her cop radio to Joker 102.3!!" she giggled with delight.
He snatched the radio from her and looked it over, then looked at her raising a green eye brow, then his blood red lips spread into the smile Harley lived to see as he said, "Well, at least you didn't screw this up."
She smiled happily and took it as a compliment, you learn after living with the Joker long enough, that it's a big compliment if he doesn't kill you.
"Good then, lets get going." He started giggling with a insane delight as he smacked Harley on the butt and she laughed as they walked out the door of their apartment.
Renee was a little more than half way to the GCPD when she got a call on the radio, a women come over saying, "10-4, Detective Montoya, come over--er, I mean, come in."
Renee picked up the radio receiver saying, "Montoya here, what do you need?"
"There was suspicious behavior spotted north a couple miles on the edge of the forest area."
"Forest area? What kind of suspicious behavior, I'm a detective, you should call a patroller."
"No! I mean, no patrollers are as close as you are, except me…officer Hailey Queen. No other officer's near enough, I need emergency help. I'm just off the 10, come as quick as you can!" She sounding distressed.
Montoya had an urgent feeling that something was seriously wrong with everything that was going on, but she had a duty to uphold and someone sounded like they were in grave danger. She ran the name through her mind, Hailey Queen, she didn't think any officers had that name. Just then on the radio came through again, "Help!"
"10-4 Officer Queen, I'm on my way." Renee didn't have enough time to think about the situation, an officer was in trouble, she picked up her pace and was there quickly. She parked her car on the side of the rode, the forest was dark and it looked bigger than usual that night, she left her head lights on. There was something inside her saying not to go in, not to go into that big dark forest of massive trees and high grasses. It was almost a panic, as an officer she was told to follow such instincts, to listen to her feelings when it came to situations. But as a detective, once an officer, still an officer, as a part of the Gotham city police department, as a person she had to go in, someone was in trouble.
She got out of the car, the night was warm, damp, and very dark, or perhaps it just seemed that way. Renee Montoya, with her small hand on her gun, walked slowly into the forest, her boots crunching leaves under her, making it hard to be quiet. Softly she said, "Officer Queen?" She looked around, seeing no one. She stood still a second and said to herself, "I'll be so pissed if this was a fake call." Her Spanish accent still softly present in her voice, her soft, gentle voice.
Then suddenly, she turned to her right as she head the loud crunch of leaves and the pounding of feet on the ground, and a soft muttered cry. She quickly pulled her gun from the holster and cocked it, but keeping it safely at her side she ran to her right towards the sound. She was glad her hair was back in a pony tail tonight, especially while she was running. She felt two very different feeling as she ran rapidly through the dark woods, part of her was over whelmed with excitement, her blood rushing, her pulse fast, her heart beating swiftly and impatiently in her chest, the sting of excitement as she crushed the leaves and grass under her.
And yet, she was slightly worried that it excited her so, she partly wanted to be in her office this late at night, working on something she should be doing, going over some file or looking at some piece of evidence, that safe, secure, office that kept her protected and warm from chases like this. Where she had no idea what was to come, her life was probably on the line tonight, her breathing heavy and harsh, her thoughts were flowing but not coming at all. Doing this was what she felt like, maybe, she was born to do. There was no second thoughts, no idea of ever turning back or taking the easy way out, of letting someone else handle the situation.
The moment was everything, but so much more, so much more as she held that cold hard metal gun tightly in her moist grip, clutching it firmly and with assurance. She felt the air, it felt cool now as she ran and it hit her face. She saw the glimmer of a women in a long coat and hat, her face couldn't really be made out being held by the Joker, she slid in the dirt as she stopped and aimed her gun saying, "Drop the woman!"
"Sure cutie." He said as he let her fall with a thump, limp and not moving.
Detective Montoya still had her aim on Joker as she said, "Drop all your weapons! Now!" He smiled wide and dropped a gun and a few other things, some of which may or may not have even been weapons, to the ground and he held his hands in air. She moved slowly still keeping her eyes and gun on Joker, over to the women laying on the ground, Montoya couldn't tell if she was alive or not. She moved swiftly to her side and put her hand on her pulse, the women laid face down. She felt a pulse, a strong one, her eyes still on Joker, who was standing with a big smile.
"You better be careful, you don't want to wake her, she's grumpy if you do that." He said leaning against a tree.
"What-" But because Montoya could finish the woman jumped to her feet the hat dropped off and she took the coat off, she stood there in full costume, Harley Quinn.
Montoya cussed rather loudly and more than one word too, but it was in Spanish. She held her gun up to Harley the same moment Harley pulled her gun up to Renee, they stood, face to face, staring at each there. As if it was something personal, as if, there was some connection of some kind, no hatred, no friendship, they both stood there, pistols in each other's faces, doing there job. They did it because they were born to do it, it was nothing personal, it was what they did, and they weren't going to give in or give up. And as they looked at each, they both knew it.
Joker smiled smugly, he chuckled softly to himself saying, "Well Renee it looks like your in a very compromising position." He smirked, "I like the sound of that." He laughed out loud, mostly to himself.
Detective Montoya and Quinn kept locked on each other, who ever looked away was probably going to get shot, and when you have a pistol aimed at your head, you don't look away. Ever. Harley smiled, Renee kept a straight face, it was almost like a staring contest, almost.
Finally Renee broke her silence saying, "Why do you want me here." They all knew she was addressing Joker, even though she never looked at him.
"Why don't you put down your gun and come with us, I promise to reveal everything to you." He chuckled again.
"Tell me what you want, or I don't hesitate to shoot!"
Joker pulled a revolver from his coat and smiled as he aimed it at Renee, "I think your out gunned miss piggy." The cop reference did not amuse Renee on many levels, because for a second she thought he was calling her fat.
She swallowed hard and held her gun, she was probably going to be shot, taken hostage, maybe killed, and she knew it. Then she heard it, directly behind Joker she heard foot steps, soft, leaves being crushed gently. For a split second she almost thought it was Batman, or Robin…or someone who might help her. Her heart sank, as she saw Two Face walk out.
Joker did a double take as he looked behind him, then he looked again saying with a surprised tone, "Harv? What are you doing here right now?"
Renee glanced him from the corner of her eye, still looking at Harley, her arm was starting to hurt a little as she held her gun there. Two Face stood quietly and casually saying, "Wanting to make sure you weren't messing up the job."
Something began to register to Renee, this was all completely set up, and much more vast than she had though, and she was more involved than she thought as well. He smiled a little at Montoya saying, "Hello Renee."
She didn't really look at him, and didn't smile at all saying, "Hello Harvey…" In a tone of disdain. "What's going on here?" She asked.
"I wanted to see you." Two Face said, staying where he was.
"My number is listed you know…" She had cracked a joke and didn't even mean to, the stress was really getting to her and she could tell. She knew he had everything set up, most likely, she knew that this was all his doing, and yet she thought her only hope of getting out of this might lie in the person who got her into it as she uttered softly, "Harvey.. help me."
He looked stunned for a moment, not sure what to say, he seemed to be thinking about it, he reached into his pocket and pulled out the half silver dollar. The Joker looked at him doing this, saying, "Oh come on, you gotta be kidding! You go through all this to get her here, and now your taking the chance of letting her go."
Two Face thought, Do you really want to let her go? It's not even an option, put that coin back you loser, we went through all this, were taking her.
But I don't want her to go unless she wants to, and she'll never want to if we make her.
So what. Do you really think she would ever want to anyway? Stop fooling your self stupid, this is our chance don't ruin it!
She asked for our help! Did you hear that though? She actually asked us for help, maybe she might trust us a little. Do you want to ruin that?
Fine…fine…toss it, good heads we help her, but bad heads we help us!
He tossed the shiny trick coin in the air, it flipped about instantly and intensely and he caught it with his other hand, smacked it over on his hand, and looked at it.
You know I think you cheated, your becoming a real cheater lately, good heads is coming up too much.
I didn't cheat! Besides, it came up bad heads three days ago you remember that?
Yeah, but it never comes up bad heads for anything important.
It has before.
Yeah, before you started cheating! Toss it again!
No! I didn't cheat, besides you know we can't toss it twice for one decision, it'll mess up the logic of everything.
Yeah fine…but I still don't think your playing fair.
He pulled two guns from his pockets, and aimed one at Harley and one at Joker.
"Oh Christ, see Harley, this is what we are reduced to working for because you spend all the money on shoes! Shoot the bitch!"
Two Face jerked Joker by the collar and held the gun to his head, "Shoot her and I don't think twice about shooting him." He said to Harley.
Joker smiled sheepishly at Two Face, "Harvey, buddy, pall, is this the way to treat a friend?"
Harley dropped her gun to the floor and raised her arms to the air, "Just let mistah J go!" She pleaded.
Joker grumbled, "Why, why, did fate stick me with her…anyone else would have shot the cop ten minutes ago."
"I'm sorry Puddin'." She whined, "But I love you, I can't stand to see you miss treated!"
Renee relaxed, but only for half a second, she spun around with her gun at Two Face, he might have helped her, but she wouldn't have been there if it wasn't for him. She wanted to radio for help, for someone to come get Joker and Harley. She reached for her radio, still looking at them.
"Renee, don't you trust me?" Two Face asked, earnestly, as if he had never set the thing up and had just come to her rescue.
"No Harvey, you just tried to kidnap me." She said rising the radio and flipping it on.
"But I also saved you." He, said, almost…half way, pleading.
"I know…" There was sympathy in her voice, and gratitude too he thought.
She held up the radio, "Come in GCPD, this is Detective Montoya, come in!"
A man's voice on the other line, "Montoya! Where are you?"
"Just off the 10 in the woods, it's urgent you get here now and bring back up. Out." She said shutting off the radio, they would be there very soon she was sure.
Joker looked at Two Face, "Would you mind taking that gun from my scull?!"
"Shut up." He said, just looking at Montoya.
"Hey!" Harley squealed, "You can't talk to my Puddin' like that!"
"Shut up Harley!" Joker yelled, "You no good excuse for a women, can't even shoot a cop.." He muttered.
"I just…thought--it might be nice to see you again." Two Face said.
Harvey thought, God, doesn't she look beautiful?
She looks pretty good, does she actually have make up on?
I think so, you think it was for us?
No Moron, she had no idea she was going to see us tonight.
Yeah…you don't think she's seeing someone do you?
Hard to say, but I never saw or heard of her seeing anyone lately have you?
No…but she's so beautiful, I'm sure it won't be like that for long.
Which is exactly why we should have kidnapped her.
No, it's better like this, she'll like us more.
"There were better ways to see me than like this. I could have been killed…"
"I know. I didn't realize it would go so badly." He said.
She said nothing.
"Are you okay?"
"Disappointed?" He asked.
"Yes, I thought you respected me more than this."
"But I do respect you!"
She said nothing.
His heart sank.
Several police cars pulled up and many armed officers got out, they came around. One yelled, "You okay Montoya?"
"Yes." She yelled back.
Two Face took of running very quickly, Montoya looked to the police, "Take them in, I'm going after him." Without waiting for an answer she ran off after him. Thoughts swam through her mind, her hand on her gun, chasing again…the night was becoming such a blur to her, she heard the other officers talking, the seines on the cars blaring away into the night, the pounding off her feet on the ground, him in front of her…wait? Where was he?
She stopped, catching her breath, breathing heavily and deeply, she stood there gun still in hands, her eyes darting around the vast woods, for any trance of him, she turned two seconds after he walked up next to her, she was facing him still holding her gun.
"Renee…" He said her name, and let it trail off, he wasn't sure what else to say, besides that he liked saying her name.
"I have to take you in."
"I can't go this time." He said, he reached out a little with the hand with no gun in it, like he might touch her hair or face, but he didn't, he went half way and pulled away. She stood perfectly still, she didn't pull away, she didn't even flinch when he did it.
"How can you get this close to me?" He asked her perfectly bluntly, but almost sadly.
"It's my job." She said strongly.
"Anyone else would have flinched, job or no job."
She said nothing at first, then she said, "I have to take you in, this place is covered in officers, just come with me…"
He took a step closer to her, part of him trying to intimidate her, the other part just wanting to be close to her for those few fleeting moments in time that he could. "Do you know what I like about you Renee?"
She looked right at him, but she didn't answer.
He assumed this was because she wanted to know and he went on saying, "You symbolize everything good. You never back down, you always do your job…you're a good cop, really. Law, order, justice…everything I used to be, used to do." This time as he reached out he went all the way, he very softly, brushed a couple strands of dark hair that had come loose from the pony tail. She looked like she wanted to back away, but she didn't. Part of him knew she didn't only to be strong and do her job, but part of him wondered if maybe, she didn't mind him so terribly much. Oh, but how could she not mind him, he thought.
Cops running around, Joker screaming at Harley who was sobbing and sirens whaling in the back ground, of the dark woods, it was still as though they were the only two people with in miles and miles of each other, and in a soft, almost whisper he said, "You symbolize everything I love."
Renee Montoya could understand what he was saying, so perfectly for the first time, why he wanted to see her, everything that had happened between them in No Man's Land. When he looked at her, he saw everything he missed about life, simply being good, not having to think about it, just doing it. Knowing what the right thing was, and doing it. Renee was uncorrupted.
In that strange moment, that could have been romantic, it most likely was strange, and only awkward because it was so comfortable. Two Face leaned in, close enough to kiss Renee, and suddenly she knew he was going to. She had never run from anything in her life, especially not when her job was involved. But right then, she ran, she turned and she ran, and ran, and ran, as fast as her legs could carry her, she ran away from him, away from the moment, away from herself…away from what was about to happen, worst of all was what she almost let happen.
Detective Renee Montoya ran from herself faster than she had ever run in her life, and she could tell it was hurting her because her breath was gone, her chest was burning and her hair was soaked.
Two Face stood there as she ran so quickly, as if she were running for her very life, he just watched her. He knew he would have to go soon before cops found him, but he watched her for a minute or two.
And he thought, She ran from us, she hates us, I told you…I knew she couldn't like us. I told you, I told you over and over, but didn't you bother to listen, no, you sniffling loser, sob over her now, I don't care, because I told you she would do that.
No. That's not what she did at all. She likes us.
How can you say that? She just ran for her life, away from us.
Yes. She just let us go.
Because she was scared, and disgusted and horrified.
Half way, yes. She was defiantly scared, possible the other two.
Renee Montoya finally stopped running after no less than 15 minutes of the fastest heart pounding sprinting she had ever done, she collapsed to the ground of the forest and put her hand on her chest as her heart beat with rapid intense beats that left her lost of almost any breath she could catch in her body. She stood up after a couple minutes sitting there, still breathing deeply, she began walking very slowly back to her car. She was hot and sweating, she realized she must have dropped her gun some place because it was no longer in her hand, but she had no conscious recollection of dropping it.
She slowly made her way back to her car and several other officers still waiting there, "Damn it Montoya" a female officer friend of hers said, "What the hell was this about it?!?"
She took a breath and leaned on her car, "Where are Joker and Harley?"
A man responded to that with, "In the back of my car, I'm about to take them in." She glanced over at his car, Joker backhanded Harley sending her face into the glass. "Hey!" Montoya yelled walking over to the car, "Get your hands off her!" She yelled at Joker.
Joker said nothing, but rather Harley with her make up smeared in her sweet frail face answered in a soft childlike sob, "No, I deserve it!" And Harley clung to Joker sobbing softly and begging to be forgiven as he looked ahead ignoring her.
For the first time all night Renee felt sick, sick to her stomach, watching them. She walked away from the car and got into her own, she shut the door saying to be into work tomorrow, she could explain then. She started the car up, and pulled away.
The drive home was too short, being in the car was nice, safe. She pulled into the drive way of her apartment, it looked cold to her then, cold, empty, lonely. She got out and unlocked the door and went in anyway. She was exhausted, but still her mind was full of thoughts that loomed in every time she tried not to think about them. She went straight to her bedroom, removed her clothes and boots and left them right there on the floor. Her body was completely drained of all her energy, and on her night stand she saw a file she had been working on, maybe obsessing over a little.
The name printed on the front was dark and bold, 'Harleen Quinzel', she opened the file and looked at a picture, it was a mug shot of Harley with her hair in pigtails. She knew then, as she looked at that picture why she had run so hard, it wasn't Two Face that scared her then, it was what she might become. Looking at Harley Quinn she saw how easy it was to become something like that, so simple to slip over to the other side, not realizing what is right and what is wrong anymore. Rationalizing everything, saying nothing is really wrong…there's just two sides to every coin.
Renee took out the picture and left it on her night stand to see every day when she woke up and every night she went to sleep, it reminded her how easy it was to get corrupt. Chaos or order? Sometimes, she knew, deep down inside of her there was something that wondered about chaos. That's why she kept Harley picture, to remind herself of the order she needed, of the order she had to keep. Indeed it may be true, there are two sides to every coin, but you can only choose to choose order. Anything else leaves you corrupt.