I've decided to reboot BoaF and remove the flash-forwards to Saffron. At this point, her story really pales in comparison to Sakura's and would represent the "slow points", which I hate. It's unfair to the reader as well as my muse. In all honesty, she's not the strongest of characters and has no place as of yet. Don't worry if you've gotten attached, I'll keep her and her story on the back burner for a time when I'm not so drawn to The Dark Knight.
This chapter, a lot more than the others, has been edited to the extreme. There's a rather long conversation/interrogation featuring Aaron Eckhart's Harvey Dent and Sakura. I felt that, in regards to his importance to the new film, he deserved a little more time on stage.
As for Sakura's fate, it might be changed. I'm really digging her death but now it's kind of spoiled, so I might let her live. I guess it all really depends on the Joker since he's going to feature quite heavily as the main baddie.
Birds of a Feather
Chapter I – Beautiful Women
Jon had been dead-set against what she was been wearing. His exact words, more of a indecipherable screech, were "You're wearing that?".
Sakura had only laughed at him.
"Yes. I figure, what's the point of having feminine wiles if I don't use them?" she had replied, shutting the apartment door behind her with a pointed smirk. Perhaps that smile, or the low-cut of the dress, had made Jonathan uneasy.
He didn't question his instinct to follow her. Their monogamy had never been tested before, hell, he wasn't even sure if it was a monogamous relationship. Since that night at the opera, they had never spoken about their relationship. They found no reason to, no shaky distrust lying between them. And yet, Jon still stepped out the door a few minutes after she did.
It was supposed to be a simple brunch with a dish of questions on the side. But what the meal was supposed to be and what it became were two very different things. Sakura knew it the moment she sat down, when first she noticed Harvey had a pad of paper for notes and a small stack of cards lined with questions. This man didn't play around.
"Good morning, Mr. Dent," she said coldly, again ignoring his outstretched hand. To her credit, she began the brunch with as much civility she possessed. "I hope I find you…well."
But Dent wasn't willing to exchange meaningless pleasantries with her. Instead, he held up a small tape, his face drawn and serious, "I have here a sworn testimony from Ms. Rachel Dawes, saying that you assaulted her in the Narrows and were involved in the Arkham Breakout." He ran a hand through his blonde hair before resting his chin on a balled fist. He stared at her, trying to weasel out the truth. "Do you have anything to say about that?"
"This is not an open interrogation, Mr. Dent. And judging from the heavy allegations, I feel I should have a lawyer present," she said swiftly, eyes blazing. "I came here with hopes of showing feels of good will between myself and the new defense attorney in Gotham. But apparently, that is not possible." She started to get up, but Dent wasn't about to let quite possibly the defining moment of his career get away.
He got up as well and took her arm, "Please, Ms. Falcone. I'm sorry I came on a bit strong," he said, his voice taken to the edge of pleading. "I'm sure there's some things you might want to clear up about that night," he added. Then he gestured back to the table. "Well, now's a perfect time."
Sakura paused, surveying Dent as he spoke. She noticed, if only for a split second, his eyes flicker southwards. Before now, before Jonathan, she would simply use this as an advantage, but things, as she was becoming all too aware of, had changed. It took all her willpower to keep herself from decking him right there in the middle of the restaurant. But what could she expect? She had asked for that kind of attention, and Jonathan had even warned her about.
Against her will, she sank back into her seat, her head bobbing slightly in agreement. Her eyes were lowered, and she knew in the absence of her gaze, Dent was taking in every inch of her. She felt naked and powerless. But she couldn't just run away
He's an attractive man, a voice at the back of her mind said.It was true; Harvey was well built with a pleasant face and strong jaw.
But Sakura's brain screamed back in response, I don't care.
The voice spoke again. He liked you.
Jonathan loves me.
Are you sure?
Dent would be easy to manipulate. You could get to him in a second.
I don't want to manipulate him.
Leave me ALONE!
Seduce him. He can make it all go away.
Sakura's heart fell silent in the argument with her brain. She couldn't exactly afford to daze off in the middle of brunch with Gotham's energetic DA. After all, wasn't he the one heading the investigations on her family, Jonathan and even herself? At this point, it really couldn't hurt to be a bit cooperative.
"Mr. Dent, I was under the impression you wanted some information on the night Dr. Crane was apprehended, when the police discovered his-," she paused, pretending to search for the correct word. She wrinkled her nose, "-contaminants."
Dent nodded. "Of course. I suppose we can work our way through chronologically, to the Breakout?"
She raised her eyebrows and took a sip of her ice water. "Whatever suits."
"Alright then." Dent smiled, his grin even and white. A public figure's best weapon. "Are you aware as to the nature of those contaminants?" His hand, clutching the pen, hovered over the notepaper.
"I suppose," another dramatic pause, "Well, judging from what I saw, what that- that spray did to the people, was it a hallucinogen? I know they all started screaming after he doused them."
"Very astute, Miss Falcone." His pen scratched on the paper. "Crane's toxin consisted mainly of a refined Asian flower and acted as a hallucinogenic. It played upon a person's worst fears." Sakura nodded, her eyes narrowed in pseudo-fascination. "We tested most of his patients at Arkham and found that he'd been giving them doses, sometimes to back insanity pleas, sometimes for no reason at all."
Her jaw dropped. She really was getting back into the acting swing. "My uncle?" Another scratch of the pen. He was weighing her reactions.
"He was among those found to have the toxin in their blood."
The waitress arrived then, pouring them both cups of coffee. Sakura ignored her, as she did most 'help'. "That sniveling doctor," she hissed, clenching her teeth. She made sure to ball her fist in plain sight. Even to the new D.A., her temper was well-known. "I'll sue Arkham for this."
Dent only laughed and stirred his over-sugared coffee. Sakura left hers untouched. She had enough energy without the caffeine. "Really, there's no need. We've had enough complaints from relatives without bringing the Mob into this."
"Really?" She glared at him and crossed her arms. "How my family makes its money has nothing to do with me."
He sipped his coffee, his mouth twisted into a smirk. "Oh, please, Sakura." She flinched at his informal tone. "Everyone in this room knows your in deep with the Mob. How's Uncle Sal, by the way? Enjoying his new position?"
"Goading me won't get you anything, Mr. Dent," she replied coolly.
He laughed again. "I suppose not." They were both quiet for a moment, Dent stirring his coffee with the smallest of smiles. After nearly a minute of silence, Dent looked up expectantly. She only pursed her lips.
"I was under the impression you would be asking the questions," she sneered.
For a moment, the unshakeable Dent looked rattled. "Yeah- yes. Sorry," he added. "So what about the big night? That's what I'm really interested in."
Ever the drama queen, she took a shaky breath. "That night," she murmured, looking down at her empty plate, "The Breakout," she added, noticing Harvey had produced a pen and looked ready to take notes. She needed to be as clear as possible; lawyers were just as bad as the press when it came to spinning statements. "I went into the Narrows, because well…let's just say I had family there. Other than Carmine."
He jotted it down eagerly. "Family?"
"Be happy with that, Dent. I can still walk away or better yet, call my lawyer."
"Fine, fine. You stop where you want, I won't push it. Fair?"
She bit her lip. "Fair."
"For now that is," he added, his eyes darkening. A silent reminder of his power. "Continue."
"I went in to help and after that, I don't-," she bit her lip again. "-I'm afraid I can't really recall."
Dent gestured to the small tape. "Rachel- Ms. Dawes, she says you attacked her. She says you would have killed her if the Batman hadn't stopped you."
"I told you, I don't remember." Under normal circumstances, she would have been yelling. She didn't like to repeat herself. "The last thing, the very last thing I saw was a man on a horse." She frowned. Dent's eyes seemed to light up. So Rachel had told him about Crane. "He was laughing or screaming, I don't really know. And then a manhole exploded and there was a hiss. And that's it."
She could tell he wasn't entirely convinced, but she could see the cogs in motion behind his eyes. "Are you saying you were drugged with Crane's toxin?"
"I'm saying I don't remember either way."
He wrote down a rather long note in a script too cramped for her to read, despite her very best efforts. "Ms. Falcone, I'm curious as to another statement of Ms. Dawes'."
Sakura smirked. "You seemed to place a great deal of stock in your pretty assistant." She was goading him now.
He didn't take the bait. "She's an intelligent young woman with impeccable judgment."
"Hmm," Sakura shrugged, "I guess there's more to her than meets the eye, eh, Harvey?"
For a second, she might have thought he blushed. "She said you were indefinitely involved with Dr. Jonathan Crane."
For this, she mustered her best and most condescending laughter. "You might want to get Miss Dawes a CAT scan."
"I must say I was reluctant to believe her too." He could play his own games. "After all, Crane doesn't exactly seem to be your type."
The waitress set down a platter of pastries, breads and various spreads. Neither Sakura nor Dent took any notice and she hurried away again.
Pretending to be intrigued, Sakura leaned forward. She realized too late that she had afforded him a wonderful view of her cleavage. "And what is my type, Mr. Dent?" It was just a bit of harmless flirting, right?
He strained to hold her gaze. "Not Crane. You'd never go for someone so weedy and," he smirked, "sniveling, was it?"
Her smile froze on her face as he pushed each and every one of her buttons. Dent continued, pausing only to bite into a Danish.
"I'd think you'd prefer your own kind."
She narrowed her eyes. "My kind?"
He ignored her. "Besides, beautiful women like you never go for the bookworm. It's plain science."
"I see," she sighed, leaning back into her seat. "Mr. Dent, you must have very little experience with women. Beautiful women, that is." This time, when he smiled, she wanted to wipe his stupid golden grin from not just his face, but the face of the earth.
"Oh, I've had just about my share."
She raised an eyebrow. "Just about?"
When he met her gaze, she could've sworn he winked faster than humanely possible. Then he leaned forward, his hand centimeters from her own. "I'm sure there's room for one or two more beautiful women in my life."
He had taken a taxi to Antelli, the restaurant where Sakura said she was having brunch. The worn baseball cap, courtesy of Sakura's closet, and an old sweatshirt that said Gotham University had helped in hiding his face. He was risking a lot, following her here to the bustling "better" part of Gotham.
When he arrived, Jonathan overpaid the driver, by nearly forty dollars, just in case the man had a faint inkling of who he was. And the fact that he only had twenties in his wallet. He stepped out on the street, pulling down the hat as far as it would go, and walked slowly to the window of the giant brass façade of the upscale restaurant. It took him less than a moment to spot her sitting near the center of the room.
He found himself smiling at the sight of her. The man couldn't hear what she was saying, but could tell she was mad. She was leaning back and trying very hard not to shoot something. This Dent character was playing her like a violin, winding her up like she was some plaything. Idiotic asshole. Jonathan chuckled but his rarely seen smile faded as quickly as it had come; Dent was crossing a line. A big line. A line that resulted in immediate pain.
Sakura obviously wasn't comfortable, despite what she tried to make everyone think, with the way Dent had begun to look at her. This wasn't what she wanted; even if it was, Jonathan would have doubted he would have been able to stand it anyways.
His ice eyes narrowed into cold slits and he marched forward, not knowing exactly what he was doing. But before he could reach the door, Sakura had left Dent, looking close to tears and fuming. She didn't move towards the front, but instead through the kitchen and - as Jonathan suspected - into the side alley.
The tall, lanky man in the baseball cap turned the corner, finding himself alone in the dirty alley with Sakura. She was up ahead, pacing, breathing heavily, hastily trying to pull the low top of her dress up her frame, but the fabric didn't budge, standing firm.
She hadn't seen him and thus drew her gun quicker than you could say hello when he put a pale hand on her arm, nearly blowing Jon's head from his shoulders. "Morning," Jon clipped, his grip on her wrist tightening.
"Oh-," she sighed, her dark eyes welling with tears of rage. "Oh, God, Jon, I- I'm sorry, I'm just so-," her voice broke and she mouthed wordlessly, looking off into space. "I swear to God, I'm going to castrate him," she cursed through gritted teeth.
Jon growled lowly and Sakura raised an eyebrow in surprise. She had never seen him so defensive, of her at least. "Depends on who he bumps into first," he muttered, shoving his hands into his pockets. "You're alright?" he added, his sharp gaze softening.
Sakura, despite the circumstances, felt herself smile. Sometimes Jon was just what the doctor ordered. For a moment, she didn't answer, instead stepping towards him coyly, her hands running up his thin arms to his neck. "I will be," she murmured coyly.
He smirked against her and she took his hand, leading him back to where her limo was waiting.
Of the older chapters, this is the most changed. Skipping the next two is fine if you're familiar with the story, you'll only miss a few choice quips here and there. Happy reading!