Jane Believes in Harvey Dent
Gotham City had a white knight to lead it out of its darkest days; his name was Harvey Dent. He was tall, handsome, effortlessly smooth and flawlessly good. It was unflinching, the lightness that radiated from him, and it made the people around him want to be good too. Jane Savary couldn't want anything less of herself now that she knew him. Now that she worked for him, Jane wanted all the blackness from her past to stay there.
The morning sunlight was bright as she packed her leather case with the files she'd organized the night before; the sun was always bright when she was on her way to work, like a miracle. Some days she thought it was a miracle that she was able to get up, get dressed, and make it out the door into that big scary world at all. Gotham. The scariest place a nice girl like Jane could ask for.
She kissed her cat goodbye, locked her door, did all those little things a perfectly normal person does on their way to work. Jane took an absurd pride in doing things like that now, because after unlawful confinement in Arkham and being drugged by none other than the infamous Scarecrow, the little things became everything. Big things receded into the distance like mountains, heaving pillars of rock to be dealt with in the future. Not now. Now was for working, getting up every day. Looking into the mirror, trying to forget all the things those gray eyes have seen.
Jane saw them now, those gray eyes, looking back at her from the mirrored walls in the elevator at the DA's office. The girl reflected there looked like a stranger; nicely put-together, smartly dressed and groomed. For some reason, in the years since she'd awakened in Dr. Jonathan Crane's care, she hadn't been able to shake the vision of herself she'd seen in her reflection there: dull, bedraggled, tangled and erratic. Most days she still felt that way inside; as the doors slid open and another smartly dressed young woman stepped in, Jane forced her eyes out of their stupor, and pasted on a smile.
"Morning, Jane." Rachel Dawes was the epitome of Jane's eventual goal; a self-sufficient professional. She wondered if Rachel had anything in her past to rival her own stay at Arkham. It would be encouraging if she did, but Jane didn't have the nerve to ask.
"Morning," she answered.
"How are you?" Rachel always seemed sincerely interested in the answer; it made Jane wonder sometimes if she was supposed to recognize her from some time in her past. There were days that Rachel seemed like an awkwardly unrecognized old friend.
"I'm fine." Jane was usually at a loss for a more detailed answer, but it always seemed to satisfy Ms. Dawes.
"Good, glad to hear it. Hope you wore your flat shoes today," Rachel said. "Lots of unpacking to do."
The general mood in the office was still one of jubilant surprise, a week after Dent's win at the polls. Jane had worked on his campaign for a while now, and he'd rewarded her loyalty with a position as a clerical assistant; she was one of a few young people in the office. He was always very nice to her, just like Rachel. Jane felt at once grateful and patronized by the two of them, sometimes. More often – when she was aware of her current inability to function in traditional social interactions, for instance – she was just grateful. Every injured person wants to recover faster than they do, and every uninjured person is unsure of how to behave with them. In the big picture, having Harvey Dent as an employer and Rachel Dawes as a sort of friend was something to be happy about. And Jane Savary was. Happy.
She looked at her face in the reflective walls and wondered if she'd ever believe it herself; then the mirrors opened, and she and Rachel saw the fair-haired DA himself, smiling that heroic smile as he greeted them both. That umbrella of kindness between the three of them convinced her, at least for the rest of the day; this was what happy felt like.
Joker Loses his Suit
He couldn't believe she'd had the nerve to disappear.
Marie. Adlam. That tailor, that woman he'd entrusted his very image to. After several fittings and many days of reconstructive sewing – much to the woman's fucking chagrin, he thought – not only his order but her entire damn store had vanished. Now Harvey Dent was wearing his tailored gray boring three-piece and Bruce Wayne – lame and ineffectual as he was – had his crap custom-made, while he – Joker eventually, once he got his bloody costume in order – was still stuck with department store black.
Marie Adlam had known him. Known his face. He had frightened her past the point of needing to disguise himself, and he'd been glad. She'd done as she was told. True, she'd been drunk the last couple times he'd seen her, but it somehow hadn't affected her work. She was a damn good tailor. He wondered why she'd go to the trouble of constructing such a piece of art, thus gaining his respect, and then throw it all away by pissing him off. The stores to either side of the vacant Adlam Tailoring Company didn't seem to know much either.
Bells jingled when he brushed through the door to the jewelry store, and they tightened his nerves until he heard trembling violin strings in his head. The girl behind the counter could see that, if he could judge by the look on her face. He was something of a monster, and he knew it. Even without makeup, he could intimidate.
"Adlam Tailoring," he said, no preamble. "Where the fuck is it?"
Her mouth opened and closed uselessly. He snorted, stepping forward, intending to do some harm. "I don't know," she managed finally. "Try the shoemaker, he might know! They worked together-"
"Tried him," he said, still moving toward her. "He didn't know either."
"The textile guy. For sure." Poor idiot was desperate to please this scarred stranger. Her momma should have introduced her to different folks when she was a kid, broaden her horizons. Now she was afraid of regular guys with marked-up faces, kind of politically incorrect these days. He realized what she'd said, stopped his steady stalking.
"Textile guy?" he asked. "Where's that?"
"End of the block," she gasped. Her relief was palpable. He thought of marking her just to teach her a lesson, like don't show your relief too soon, but he had stuff to do, textile guys to see. Rogue seamstresses to track down.
He gestured his satisfaction, wagging his finger at her, and smiling his special smile. She tried to return it; he gave her an A for effort. "Thanks," he said, retreating. She had a most amusing look of terror on her face, and he hadn't even done anything to her. Just you wait 'til I'm through with this whole damn city, he thought. He had big plans. Plans he could execute once he got his missing suit.
Try to hide from me, Marie. I'll find you. Count – on – it.
Angie Appears at a Funeral
The casket was open and the woman inside was impeccably dressed, even for a corpse. The cosmetics caked on her face didn't help to mask her true state; Marie Adlam was, inarguably, dead.
The rows of metal chairs were lined with business associates - shippers, suppliers, a few ex-employees. In the last years of her life, Marie had had to do away with most of her personnel. It wasn't meant as an affront to any of the workers she'd had to lay off. It was just failure. Tailoring could be a tough business to keep up in a city where ready-to-wear was the most economically effective way to dress; it didn't help that Gotham's wealthiest citizens were largely crooks and mob bosses. And Bruce Wayne. Before she died, Marie had assumed he'd had his suits made to order by a higher-profile tailor. It didn't make sense for one of the richest men in the world to get his attire from a small business like the Adlam Tailoring Company, despite the work she'd done for his father all those years ago.
Textile wholesalers, shoemakers. The ladies she'd played Bingo with every Wednesday and Sunday nights. People dressed in black, fanning themselves with the prayer cards in the funeral parlor's thick air. The room was populated with people Marie Adlam hadn't known very well, and one or two she had. Two men, each alone, sat far from each other in the rows closest to the doors. One of them appeared because of the vague memories of playing in the tailor's shop as a child; the other because of the recent business he had conducted with her. Neither, by some miracle, realized the other was there.
Despite the idle chatter between acquaintances throughout the room, there was that feeling of silence funeral viewings so often had; a slight sense of oppression, the urge to hush your conversation, keep your chair still, quiet your child. Into this stillness the sound of high heels on hard laminate cracked. It started down the hall, impossibly loud and fast for a funeral; short, staccato clacks approaching quickly, no hesitation as they reached the heavy wooden door and seemed to throw it open. Into the expectant room stepped a young woman. Long, flat brown hair, that kind of round face that never seemed to look happy. She wore a dress far too shapely for a funeral. At least it's black, certain patrons thought to themselves. Even after the years spent away from home, those business contacts from so long ago recognized her. Marie Adlam's only child; considering those five years she'd languished in various institutions, she looked surprisingly good.
Angel Adlam had come home.
Hey, thanks for reading the first chapter of my new Gotham story! This was an introductory chapter, and there will be more dialogue and action to come. If you like my style, please do read my other stories - you might want to check out Lucid Dreamer and Heart of Glass if you haven't already, just to see what Angel and Jane are all about. Feedback is appreciated!
Furthermore, I'd like to thank emptyvoices for her invaluable help in understanding both Angie and Jane, and Royalty09 for her offered help as a Beta. You'll both be hearing from me, don't you worry. I heartily recommend their work to anyone who enjoys mine.
There will be updatings soon!