Disclaimer: If I owned them, I would treat them better than DC does.
A/N: For my Captain, whom I'm sort of ripping off in the broadest sense. I don't think she'll mind. If she does...eh, I'll bake cookies and she'll get over it. What does she want from me? She's a driving force in my life, of course some of her has rubbed off.
A Gemini, living on second street on the twenty-second floor in apartment two-thousand-two.
You know, in retrospect, I probably should have seen it coming. I mean, come on, am I a Gothamite, or am I a Gothamite? It was only a matter of time, right?
Now look, before we go any further, I want to make one thing perfectly clear, detective: I'm not one of those dingbats who moves to Gotham to try and get in with one of the villains because he's sooo cute. I moved here for the work and that's all. It's not my fault that the only apartment I could afford is the only one in town that Two-Face would ever show any interest in. I didn't plan that and it didn't even occur to me until--
Huh. You know, all those bullet holes that were in the plaster when I first moved in make a lot more sense now. I knew the landlady was jerking me around when she blamed them on termites. I mean, do I look like that much of an idiot to you? Termites that eat plaster? Come on.
My roommate and I--oh yeah, you better believe there were two of us, buster and if you want more irony, she's a Libra--weren't settled into the place a month before somebody came busting through the door.
What? No, not Two-Face. Not yet. This was just some random home invasion. The guy was an amateur, you know? Used a gun of all the silly things you've ever heard of. Nobody uses guns in Gotham, nobody with any self respect, anyhow.
Jo and I both work from home. Mostly. Jo's a writer, of the fictional variety, but I write technical manuals for a living--you know, the little booklet that comes with insert-appliance-of-your-choice-here? Yeah, I write those. She's got the glamorous job that doesn't pay very well; I've got the mind-numbing one that lets us pay the rent and eat. It's only fair, though, she's a much better writer than I am. My writing is...well, I'm like bad clams, you know? Always repeating.
I also have a crummy sense of humor.
Right, so mister big-bad-burglar pops into the apartment late one night, gun in hand. I mean late, late. Two o'clock in the morning late. I guess he figured he'd have the element of surprise on his side.
Jo and me, though, we're night owls. To us, dawn is nature's way of telling us it's time for bed. We were startled, that's for damn sure, but not half so surprised as Twitchy McHousebreaker. You should have seen the look on his face when Jo launched herself off the couch and pinned him with her thighs of steel. I'm not exaggerating: she could crush a watermelon between those things.
Now, I'm no great physical specimen, I know that. Bad knees, weak wrists and I smoke--not regular old cancer sticks, either, I smoke cigars. I'm not particularly physically imposing, even though I suppose I oughtta be. Jo says it's the face. She thinks it's cute when I try to be intimidating.
Despite all that, I'm decent at keeping a cool head in a crisis--not good, you understand, but decent--so I ran lickity-split to grab some old bungee cord Jo had left over from her last family vacation and trussed up our uninvited houseguest like a thanksgiving turkey.
Jo got within two feet of the telephone, all ready to call the cops, and then the door bursts inwards, almost knocked off its hinges.
And who should be standing there but Mr. Duality himself?
February second, two-twenty-two in the morning. Again, something we probably should have seen coming.
Now look, when I moved to Gotham, I was ready for a lot of things. Muggings I can deal with. Supervillains turning the water supply into strawberry jelly because it's Tuesday and Mercury is in retrograde, that I can deal with too. I can even deal with the fact a potted hollyhock I bought from some guy in Robinson Park tried to strangle me in my sleep while screaming "Feed me, Seymour, feed me!" but a supervillain showing up on my doorstep? A supervillain who just happens to be waving a twenty-two in my face?
Not so much.
I'm a big enough woman to admit it. I panicked. I'm not ashamed of it. When somebody like Two-Face is standing three feet in front of you, it's a heck of a lot different than when you see one of those larger than life characters on the news--I mean, very few people in Gotham have ever actually seen Batman, we just know he's there. Even fewer have had contact with villains on an up-close-and-personal scale.
What? No, I didn't faint. Do I look like the shrinking violet type to you?
What do you mean yes? Why, you...
I wilted like an Eskimo in the middle of a Florida heat wave. Happy?
May I continue my story now, detective? I wouldn't want to interrupt your snickering at my expense or anything...
Two-Face strides into the apartment like he owns the joint. I suppose, as far as he's concerned, he does own it. It is the most binary residence in town and he's got a monopoly on all things dual.
Heh, monopoly on all things dual. Nice contradiction there.
Anyways. He doesn't pay much attention to us, beyond telling his goons to tie us up, and--
How did I wind up working for Two-Face? I'm getting to that part. Geez, some people have no respect for the art of storytelling. Where was I? Right. Getting tied up.
Let me say here and now, Jo's not exactly the fastest talker in the world. She's really witty--sometimes she makes me feel like a conversational dunce--and I love her to bits, but she's more the quiet type unless she knows you real well, you know? I do most of the talking and interacting with people when we're together and I'm a hell of a lot louder about it than she is. She can talk her way out of things with the cops--uh, not that she's ever done that, detective--but she's not very good at talking people into things. I am. Kinda. If I've got some idea of what I'm dealing with, anyway.
So, Two-Face is giving us his spiel about chance and fate and destiny and he's about to flip the coin to decide whether we live or die, and I blurt the very first thing that pops into my head that might, might, might save my skin.
"I'm a Gemini!"
If my hands had been free, I probably would've flailed wildly at him. It's probably better that they weren't.
That gives him pause. Not much of one, but enough. Then, jerking my head in Jo's general direction, I hit him with the second part of my Master Plan to Stay Alive: "She's a Libra! The twins and the scales of justice! And there are two of us!"
I never thought my astrological sign would save my life, detective, honestly. And though I've never been really fond of being the ultimate example of the chatty, impetuous Gemini, I've never been so glad that I wasn't born a Virgo.
Now, there's more to it than that, of course. He still flips his coin three times, one for me, Jo and the burglar, but Jo and I get really lucky. He only pistol whips us. The burglar...well, I suppose he got pistol whipped too, in a way...with a bullet. In the brain.
So now we're sitting there, bruised up and getting to hear the proverbial Offer You Can't Refuse™. We can join up with the crew and be good little henchmen, he says, or we can take our chances on another flip of the coin. He makes sure to point out that statistically speaking, one of us is liable to run out of luck on the next coin toss.
What could we say, detective? I ask you, what could we do?
So, we joined up. Can you blame us?
But don't go thinking it was all glamour and furs and diamonds like in the movies. We did grunt work, just like the other bruisers. There wasn't any preferential treatment, not really. Everyone in Two-Face's gang has some connection to the number two, so the two girls from second street who just happen to be born at the right time of the year to have dual signs aren't anything special. I suppose he liked us 'cause we came as a matched set to begin with, but beyond that, eh. We're just the hired help.
So, there we are. Two writers--one good, one...not so good--turned criminals, suddenly thrust into the underbelly of Gotham City. A novel waiting to happen, right? Yeah. God knows I picked up enough of the vernacular running with guys named Nicky the Nose and Jimmy the Squirrel to write one in my sleep.
For six months, Two-Face is out of Arkham, running free on the street, wreaking havoc and we work for him all that time, solid. Then the cops pick him up after a perfectly routine bank robbery and send him on his way in the paddy wagon. The gang sticks together, mostly. You know there's always one or two that strike off to find a new boss when the old one goes back in the jug, but Two-Face takes good care of his entourage. Better than most, anyway.
I mean, he's still crazy as a blind rattlesnake with a brand new button on its tail, but at least he's a manageable kind of crazy. His kind of crazy has rules. He has to flip his coin, so you've got a sporting chance, at least. It's not like working for the Joker, who might peel your eyelids off because the color of your socks don't go with the weather. As far as Gotham bosses go, you could do a hell of a lot worse. And the guys you work with when you're working for Two-Face are top quality guys, you know? The kind of guys who'll bail you out, generally speaking.
So the gang sticks together and they start plotting a way to bust the boss out of the joint. Jo and I figure this is probably the right time to split off on our own. Go back to living a normal life, like...so in the dead of night, we work on slipping away from the lair, right? We plan on just disappearing in a puff of mystery and intrigue, leaving no trace...
But that's when your boys in blue picked me up. More irony there, huh?
Blech. Coffee's cold.
Hey, what time is it? No, just wondering.
Two-something? Two what? I don't have my watch.
Two-twenty-one? You don't say.
You might want to duck, detective.
Oh. Damn, that hole is gonna to be a bitch to patch. But hey, some contractor's family is going to be eating pretty well for a while once he gets that juicy GCPD contract, right? Always look on the bright side of life and all like that.
Come on now, detective. Let's not make this messy. You're outnumbered and probably outgunned. Don't embarrass yourself. I--
Oooh, ouch. That looked like it hurt. You okay there, pal?
Hey, you don't mind if I take your hat, do you? I've always had a thing for fedoras. Make me feel like a regular Sam Spade, y'know?
What'd you say your name was? Harvey, right? Aw, that's kinda cute. If you ever decide to give up this law enforcement thing, you should look us up. I'm sure the boss wouldn't mind having another Harvey around the place. He likes things to be symmetrical like that.
Well, you wanted the facts, and you got 'em. Sure, I padded 'em out a bit to kill time 'till the cavalry arrived, but hey, the basic gist is right on the button. Your report oughtta be reeeeal interestin' readin'.
Now, that's uncalled for. You kiss your mother with that mouth? You want Rico to swat ya again?
Yeah, that's about what I figured.
Well, Harv, it's been real. I'll see you around, huh? Oh, I know I will. I know the look of a man who wants to see me again.
Like I said, detective, I didn't come here for the villains...but you know what? I'm sure as hell stayin' for 'em.
Don't take any wooden nickels, buddy boy. And thanks for the hat.