Warnings: Violence, character death, language...and people may have cause to take issue with my portrayal of our good Commissioner...
Disclaimer: 'The Dark Knight' and 'Leon' belong to various people who aren't me. And apologies to the almighty Pterry for nicking the title of one of his books.
Notes: Um. I wish I could justify this, I really do. But to be honest, I watched 'Leon' and 'The Dark Knight' in the same week, and plot bunnies started breeding, and...well, when I actually thought about it, it just made too much sense not to write.
He'd heard it said before that when someone came out of a coma, the first thing to return was hearing. This, apparently, was bullshit, because the overwhelming sensation as he clawed his way back to consciousness was pain.
His arm was in a cast, his ribs were almost certainly broken, and his chest felt like someone had taken sandpaper to it. He couldn't see - the world was all blurry shapes and distorted patches of light and shade. There wasn't a part of his body that didn't ache. Even his hair ached, completely against all reason and logic. But more than anything else, it was the strange and simple clarity of the world around him that brought home the severity of his situation: he'd been out long enough for the drugs to completely clear his system.
And it was then that the memories hit him.
He closed his eyes against the unexpected sting of tears and tried to work out how he'd fucked his life up so badly.
Chapter One - To the Dancers in the Rain
Twenty Years Later
On becoming Commissioner of the Gotham Police Department, Jim Gordon had learned three things. One; that days off were now a thing of the past. Two; that a demanding, high profile, and dangerous job was not conducive to a happy marriage. And three; that left on their own, things tended to go from bad to worse.
He liked to think he wasn't doing a bad job as Commissioner. He'd held the post for two months, and he was starting to get the hang of it. The fundraisers were excruciatingly boring, the paperwork was neverending, and he had to move heaven and earth to get any actual policework done...but he was, to his utter bemusement, good at it.
Of course, Gotham being Gotham, there had been three attempts on his life since he'd taken the post. The last one had come perilously close to succeeding - the bullet had clipped his side and buried itself in the wall behind him. He'd be alright, though, of that he was certain. Close on thirty years as a cop had honed his reflexes, and unexpected commissionerhood hadn't magically robbed him of his instincts.
The shallow wound in his side was throbbing. There was a bottle of painkillers in his jacket pocket, but he was reluctant to touch it - being injured wasn't a rare occurrence, and he knew all too well the consequences of becoming dependent on drugs.
His secretary - and wasn't that a hell of a novelty - put her head round the door and said politely; "Sir?"
Gordon blinked at her and struggled to remember her name. "Yes-" He took a stab in the dark "-Laura?" She smiled, and he breathed an internal sigh of relief.
"Accounting needs the signed payslips for this month," she said; "They're on your desk..." she eyed the stacks of paperwork; "...somewhere."
Payslips, payslips...he'd seen them, he was sure he had... He shifted a pile of performance reports and emerged triumphant. "There. Anything else urgent I've forgotten about?"
"Assuming you remembered to approve the new duty rosters, then no."
"Good. I'm going home."
He passed the oncoming night-shift on his way out, getting salutes and 'sir's from the younger officers, and a cheery 'night, Jim' from Staff Sergeant Cooper, who'd been with the force even longer than Gordon had. Cooper had been the one to show him around when he transferred to Gotham PD twenty years ago. Ranks may have changed, but to Cooper he'd probably always be the wary new kid with freshly acquired glasses sitting uncomfortably on his face.
His car was parked at the back of the station. Driving in Gotham was a nightmare - even this late at night there was a queue at every red light - but it was still the best option. The public transport network was a disgrace, and only the terminally foolish or suicidally brave dared walk anything more than a few blocks.
The slam of the car door was comforting in its familiarity; the seats were stained with coffee and ash and less identifiable substances, the smell of smoke clinging to every surface. Gordon breathed deep and sighed. Coffee and cigarettes, faint hints of gunpowder and blood in the background. Smells that had meant 'home' for as long as he could remember...as if on cue, the bottle of pills in his pocket rattled.
Just like the old days, his subconscious said mockingly; all you're missing is a better suit.
He turned the key in the ignition and drove away.
Gordon let himself in through the back door of his apartment. He found himself opening his mouth to call out a greeting, but the place was dead, cold and empty. Feeling vaguely foolish he closed his mouth again. Of course. Barbara and the kids were 'visiting' her parents. He couldn't find it in himself to blame her. Not after Dent and the Joker and everything else that had happened.
Is this what happens? he wondered, easing himself onto the sofa with a carton of reheated Chinese in one hand and an inexpertly wielded set of chopsticks in the other; You try your best to go straight and stay clean, and the universe fucks you over anyway? Or maybe not. Other people seemed to do okay - maybe it was just him.
He fell asleep like that, one arm hanging limply off the sofa to trail on the ground, the empty takeaway carton resting precariously on him stomach. Red and white lights from passing traffic chased each other across the cracked plaster of the ceiling.
He didn't dream.
The next day was a Wednesday. The sun rose weak and watery over a city firmly in the grip of the midweek blues: last weekend a distant memory, the next an eternity away.
Gordon was woken at the crack of dawn by the frantic ringing of his phone. He rolled off of the sofa - the carton was dislodged and fell to the floor, scattering grains of rice and cold kung pao chicken on the carpet - and made it to the phone by the third ring: "Hello?"
"Speaking. What is it?" He squinted blearily at the clock on the windowsill and grimaced. Whatever this was it had better be good... he sank back into the couch, stifling a yawn in his sleeve. What he wouldn't give for another hour's sleep...
"There's been an attack on Arkham Asylum."
Gordon sat bolt upright, wide awake in an instant. "How bad is it?" Please tell me no-one got out.
"Three of the guards have been killed, and a dozen injured. We managed to drive them off but we think they may be regrouping."
He was in the bedroom by this point, scrabbling through the drawers for fresh clothes, the phone held tenuously in place with his shoulder; "How many men do we have there?"
"Four squad cars on scene, another seven on the way. SWAT are heading over as well."
"Right. Divert all traffic away from the Narrows, and get a perimeter set up around Arkham - no-one gets in or out without my clearance."
"I'll be there soon. Keep the situation contained until I arrive."
Without any further pleasantries he ended the call and tossed the phone on to the bed. He dredged up a clean shirt and grabbed his keys and cell from the coffee table on his way past. By the time he was pulling on his jacket, he was already down the front steps and halfway to his car.
He was fairly certain he broke every traffic law in the book getting to Arkham.
...to be continued...