Notes: Yay inspiration! I'm trying to make each chapter like a snapshot so if I lose motivation, I won't leave readers hanging with some sort of cliffhanger that will never be resolved. Tell me what you think!
My cell phone buzzed on my bedside table, and I had to twist my hands in my sheets to keep from answering it. I recognized the number – or rather, I didn't recognize the number but I knew who would be calling me from a remote number: the same people responsible for my drafty bedroom.
I had seen neither hide nor hair of Batman since that night on the rooftop, but ever since, I had reported an absurdly high number of cases in which we arrived at the crime scene only to find the perpetrators wiped out by some sort of internal conflict mid-job. At least, that's what we put in the reports. The MCU was constantly buzzing with theories on why the Batman, who had threatened our own Commissioner's family and murdered Harvey Dent, was still helping us fight crime.
I was startled out of my fragmented thoughts by another phone call, this one buzzing from the pocket in my sweatpants. I had taken to carrying that little phone with me at all times.
Sitting so close between the two suitors vying for my attention, I found myself uncomfortable with taking the call where I sat. I rolled out of bed, dragging my comforter with me, and stepped carefully around the broken glass and the brick I had found upon arriving home. Once safely in the hall, where the other buzz was only a faint mosquito, I answered.
"Hello?" I asked, turning the greeting into a weary sigh.
"What room are you in?" His voice was clipped, as it normally was when I talked to him, and as usual, his only greeting was an abrupt start to a conversation.
I held back a second sigh. "The hallway just outside my bedroom."
"Don't go near any windows. They're here."
My chest seized up, and abruptly I realized the distant buzzing on my bedside table had stopped. "Shit," I breathed, glancing toward the fire escape down the hall.
"Don't run," he commanded. "I need you to talk to them. There's been a change in plans. You're going to play both sides of the fence."
He couldn't have knocked the breath out of me any better even if he had punched me square in the chest. My blanket folded to the floor. "What?" I breathed.
"If you want to."
The vague insinuation took a beat to sink in, and then rage bubbled up in my stomach. "What is this?" I snarled. "Some sort of test?" The fevered banging on the door of my apartment quickly silenced my fury. I could hear low, angry voices and the sound of a phone closing through the paper-thin walls of my apartment, and I was successfully humbled.
"What should I do?" I whispered into the receiver.
"Be angry. You're being closely watched and they'll go down with you if they don't get out and be a little more patient. If you hear anything about the Batman, they'll know before the police."
"Leave our connection open; put the phone in your pocket."
I followed his instructions, moving into the kitchen. I slipped my gun out of the holster where it hung by the door and tucked it into the waistband of my sweatpants before I edged the door open.
"What do you want?" I seethed, turning dark eyes on the errand-boy mobsters who waited in the hall. There were two – though if Batman's warning held any merit, there were more waiting in the wings outside – and they both towered over me. I recognized only one, a burly Italian with a handlebar mustache. I thought his name was Davide, but I wasn't sure about the other one, a rat-faced youth who looked barely older than twenty-one.
"For you to answer your calls," answered Davide, trying to impose himself into my apartment. I firmly kept the door cracked.
"Get out," I whispered fiercely. "I'm being watched at all times. Tell your boss that if I go down, you're going down with me. He's going to have to be patient." The younger man's hand twitched towards his belt and I quickly amended, "And with Commissioner Gordon calling the shots now, good luck finding another rat in the MCU. I'm all you've got, so I suggest you get your ass out of my apartment building and wait for me to contact you."
The phone – this time the landline – rang in my kitchen and it only took a frantic glare to urge the two men into action. "And I better get some money to pay for that window," I hissed just before closing the door. I took the kitchen phone off the hook, but spoke into the cell phone.
"Oh, hello Smith. No, of course you're not bothering me. I'm up for a midnight snack."
"I'll be in contact," Batman answered and the connection cut. I spent the next five minutes fabricating a conversation before I said goodnight to "Officer Smith" and then laid out my clothes for Mass the next morning. I hadn't gone in years, but wearing the little skirt and red heels I had picked out from the back of my closet, I was sure to draw at least a little condemnation.