Chapter Notes: I am setting this story in the Nolan-verse but it's actual origins are in the best Batman comic book of all time, Batman Year One by Frank Miller. There is a direct link between Y 1 and Batman Begins. The later took major plot points from the former, and pretty much took its depiction of James Gordon straight from the pages. I read an interview one time with Chris Nolan that Garry Oldman's main selling point was that he looked so much like the artwork of David Mazzucchelli's Gordon from that comic book.
In that comic book though, James Gordon was almost as dangerous as Batman himself. He actually took down a Green Beret twice his size and muscle, stating it had been fifteen years since he had done it last. He even gave the man a baseball bat first! His combat experience was what allowed him to survive as the only honest cop in a corrupt city. I wore out my last copy of the book so I had to get a new one, I was rereading it and suddenly the plot bunny popped up.
If you take Gordon's restrictions away, his code of honor and belief in the system, but left his skills and training and instinct intact, what would you get? If he came into conflict with Batman, who would win?
Retrograde amnesia returns a mind to a former stage of development. Gordon was at one time in his life a warrior. The story has been writing itself, I was not sure I'd post it, but I was enjoying it so much I thought, why not.
This story is dedicated to the baddest ass cop in all fiction, and one of the best comic book characters of all time...Commissioner James Worthington Gordon
Who Am I?
Raul Dominguez made his round through the free clinic 628 Delco Street in the Narrows.
He was only an RN but he was the closest thing the battered one story building had on a weekday night to a doctor.
He looked around the dank room with the peeling paint and out dated medical gear, sighing once again. This was no place to treat people; this was no way to treat people. This was the Narrows, if you could afford better you would never set foot here, but most people down here could not.
There was a snoring drunk sleeping off a binge in the corner, with a wounded leg from where he crashed through a plate glass window. A young Hispanic girl, whom nearly bled out from a botched self-abortion from a pregnancy she was trying to hide from her strict parents, whimpering on her cot in the corner. Raul worked his way through one after another sob story the next even worse than the previous.
Such as it was down in the Narrows.
With a sigh, he walked over to evaluate the newest patient. The older man came in nearly two hours ago, beat to a bloody pulp, with a head injury, suffering from symptoms of amnesia with no ID, and he had a bullet wound in his shoulder. If there was a bullet inside it would have to be removed and documented for the authorities, but the severe concussion was what gave Dominguez his biggest concern. The man, awakened every half hour since he came in, first aid for a concussion, seemed confused but mostly lucid. He complained about blurry vision. His face was severely swollen and puffy, but the volunteer nurse could not detect any fractures or broken cartilage in the x-rays. Lucinda had no official medical training or degree but he would trust her assessment over any doctor or nurse he had worked with.
This man's obvious fight injuries could mean anything these days.
Things had gotten even more dangerous in the Narrows in recent years after the great Arkham break out, and the gas, so this little clinic was seeing triage situations equivalent to a MASH unit in a war zone. They did their best for the patients but they had limited funding and had to contend with conveniently forgotten medical histories and lack of ID with their clientele. There was only one doctor that dared make the trip down to the sewer the old neighbourhood had become, Commissioner Gordon made sure that man was escorted by cops, and Raul was grateful for that. After what he had heard on the radio on his way, he wondered if that would continue.
It was all over the news, Commissioner Gordon was missing and feared dead, victim of an ambush just four blocks away from the MCU office in a parking garage. There were five injured or dying assailants, both officers body guarding Gordon were found dead at the scene, the man himself had vanished. Everyone knew in Gotham, a missing civil servant meant nothing good; it bothered Raul deeply that a man the calibre of Gordon would become yet another statistic. The city was still reeling from the Joker's carnage, and the death of Harvey Dent, and the disgrace of Batman, to have Gordon missing as well was yet another nail in the coffin of a city with the lid already closed. If a man like Gordon could not stay safe, what chance did any of the rest of them have?
The man on the cot barely stirred as Dominguez made his way to his side. He was not a tall man, and he seemed in reasonable shape with a lean, lanky build with toned muscle that showed under the hospital gown. The nurses had to shave parts of his hair to check for lacerations, since his hair was clotted with blood, he gave them permission to shave the rest, the only hair left was on his chest and arms, his eyebrows and a thick brown moustache and the makings of a scraggly silver shot beard covering his chin. Under the hair on his left bicep Raul saw a Special Forces tattoo as he looked for distinguishing marks in case he had to make a report to police later. The man's hands were bandaged already, his knuckles deeply bruised and torn when he arrived. He had a possible cracked rib on his left side and a bruised kidney judging from the blood in the urine.
He was in short, a mess. Raul was shocked that this man was able to stumble in under his own power.
From the information on the chart, he discovered that the mystery man had a strong heartbeat and healthy blood pressure, so that was in his favour. Raul was reaching down to check the bandage over his right shoulder when a vise-like left hand shot out and grabbed his forearm before Raul could even flinch. He would have bruises there later; the intense blue-gray eyes bored into him, as if assessing him as a potential threat. Raul saw the muscles under the man's skin, and the reflexes were lightening quick, he had no doubt that this man was dangerous if he needed to be. He was about to call for a nurse to bring a sedative, but the grip loosened and the hand dropped back to his side.
"Sorry if I startled you, sir," Raul managed to say with a tiny squeak in his voice.
"It's okay. Sorry about your arm," the man replied in a raspy voice.
Raul checked the bullet wound and found the exit hole in the back, he needed to x-ray it later for bullet fragments, but it seemed to be okay. The man hissed a little bit as he explored, but with the pain he was under, that being the only indication was nearly super human. This was looking at a warrior of some kind, judging from the puffy bruised face; until the swelling subsided there would be no way of identifying him by picture.
Raul got the impression that whoever this man was, he had seen too much of the world. Even though he was a walking wound, he slipped back into sleep easily.
The cranial x-ray showed a significant head injury in the back, the brain looked bruised but the skull was intact. The need to sleep might be a symptom of the concussion, and yet, the man looked worn out beyond the beating, haggard even. Whoever he was, he had been under tremendous pressure, recently. Possibly by the people who beat him to a pulp?
Raul could speculate all night but the bottom line was he had more patients to see. He made a note to get DNA and fingerprints for a match later. The clothing the man was wearing was unsalvageable from harbour water, blood and being torn to shreds, but it looked like it was once a suit and tie. That was not wino attire. Someone would be looking for him somewhere.
Truth be known, Raul wanted to get this man out of his ward and downtown away from his patients, the last thing he needed was the individuals that caused all of this damage coming here to finish what they had so ably started.
He did however get the feeling from the physical potential in the man's body, and that tattoo, that not all of the blood that was on that man's hands was his own, and he was looking at a man who could handle himself.
"Welcome to the Narrows, John Doe," he mumbled as he filled out the chart noting the last time the man woke, so someone would know to wake him in a half an hour. He sighed resignedly and moved on.
Batman sat in the darkened newly revamped Batcave. Around him in large banks of technology was the most advanced computer system in Gotham, there was equipment everywhere in racks and space age compartment, a far cry from his first haphazard attempt at a lair. He could sit there and feel the comfort he derived from the sense of purpose the place represented, but tonight the cowl was off and he just felt cold. On the console in front of him was two objects, he was looking at a pair of broken glasses with a spot of blood on the lens. The computer had just confirmed the blood was James Gordon's.
"I know you are nocturnal Master Bruce, but could you put on some light for the rest of us?"
Alfred made his way down the towering staircase cautiously, then more boldly as Bruce with a spoken word turned on the overhead lights.
Alfred studied his charge with a look of deep concern. "Have you discovered what became of Commissioner Gordon, Sir?"
Bruce glanced up. Rachel, Harvey, now Jim? What is happening to this war?
"I studied the crime scene, it was a very clever and orchestrated ambush, I was distracted by a false alarm across town, all I know, wherever Jim is, he did not go there quietly." Bruce sighed shoulders slumping in defeat. "I'm afraid I've created two more orphans, Alfred, if Gordon had never met me, Jimmy, and Babs would still have their dad."
Alfred's face showed that he wanted to dispute Bruce, but the older man seemed to give it up as a lost cause. He just nodded to himself. "Well sir, when you are done with the self-recrimination and tire of brooding, try to recall that at the moment there is no body, so there is still hope. If anyone can find the man, you can. I have prepared a pot roast for dinner; it will be in the warmer, good night."
Bruce favoured him with a wry smile, which Alfred answered with a knowing smirk before the dapper man made his careful exit.
Bruce felt a deep sense of despair. Not just for possibly losing an ally, but for losing a man who he respected deeply, and always felt was as close as Batman could ever get to a friend. It was more than that, however. Gordon was a good man, like his father Thomas Wayne, he was someone who gave Bruce a moral compass and perspective, who let him know when he was over the line. He had brought Bruce back from the ragged edge more than once; fulfilling an opposite role to Henri Ducard.
Alfred was right, until Bruce found a body, or saw one laid out on a slab, he could not give up hope, but at this point, it was not looking good. If someone had succeeded in taking out Jim Gordon, they would have the entire GCPD down on their heads. Most of the old timers would have taken a bullet for Jim, and the younger officers and rookies were willing to follow the man into the fires of Hell with a water pistol if he had ordered it. If a body turned up, all of the Gotham underworld would have a headache by the end of the week. It made more sense to dispose of the body. Bruce's money was on a mob owned crematorium, which was the preferred method of the local families.
His head found his hands. The feelings were overwhelming him. His mother and dad where dying in front of his eyes once again, but this time there was no kind-hearted honest cop to get down on his level and assure him that he would be okay, this time he was on his own. He thought of how the city had come to rely on Jim Gordon in the intervening months when he was the only beacon of hope left in the weary city. Batman had watched from a distance as Gordon worked even longer hours, was subjected to even more stress, and saw him as he began to crumble under the relentless pressure of it all. The normally neat, trim man looked haggard, and worn out, had stopped shaving and resting.
It was to be expected.
Soon after Harvey Dent took his family hostage, his floundering marriage collapsed and his wife left him in Gotham, moving back to Chicago with the kids. That blow was almost too much for the Commissioner. Batman had nearly come out of hiding to make sure Gordon knew he was not alone, but he decided not to, he knew James would consider it too big a risk and would be angry with him for doing so. He would just be adding to the ordeal.
The recent death threats were icing on the cake. They had been getting progressively worse, but Jim seemed to be getting even bolder and more cavalier about it as if he felt he had nothing to lose.
Who could blame him?
Gordon had lost his family, been force to hunt down his main ally framing him for something he did not do, buried a man in whom he had placed his hope for the future, and lost a dear friend in Rachel Dawes because he was seconds too late. All in all, a lesser man would have crumbled long ago.
The real clincher was that Gordon and Batman had been looking in the wrong direction for the threat.
The other object on the console was a bullet Batman had pried out of a pillar across the parking garage, and like the blood-spattered glasses, it also had Gordon's blood on it; having traveled through Jim's body after penetrating his bulletproof vest. He had a very good reason to think that piece of evidence would have been misplaced. That bullet was Teflon coated, and police issue.
The false alarm that took him across town was a bank job that looked like the Joker's signature. Very few people knew those details, all police related. Gordon was trying to meet with Batman about a piece of evidence he had uncovered, he had used some of the old channels, they had agreed on a meeting that night. Whatever that evidence was, James Gordon might have just lost his life for it.
Bruce sighed. "I'm so sorry Jim, I wasn't there."
The mystery patient transferred out of the clinic and down to the new Gotham General. The police had been notified, but because of the massive manhunt currently underway, the vagrant was low priority, no officer came for days. The police force was looking for a middle-aged Commissioner with brown hair, a mustache, not a bald aging mystery man with tattoos, and a beard whom obviously got his injuries by fighting. The DNA evidence was collected from the man for identification purposes, but no one passed it on up the line due to the backlog of the newly relocated patient load and the brand new hospital. The man fell through the cracks.
Since he had no medical insurance, John Doe was treated, clothing for him was found through a local charity, and discharged after four days with the number of a social worker and a local halfway house in his pocket.
His memory still had not returned.
In the intervening weeks, he had snippets of images. Of two happy kids who smiled at him, of a haggard tired looking woman with a perpetual frown, he awoke from those dreams in a room full of beds and other homeless men, feeling bereft and strangely helpless. Those were the nice dreams. He could not count the amount of times he awoke in a cold sweat stifling a cry from barely recalled images of swirling horrific violence. Whomever he was before, it was not a happy life, he knew that much.
The over-worked social worker assigned to his case, Carol Dayne, gave him some leads on a job, and as much encouragement as she had time for, which was around three minutes. With no history or social security card, he did not qualify for financial aid, so he found work as a janitor at a local community center and gymnasium on the edge of the Narrows. He took the name Henry Rice, two names he picked at random out of a phone book. He completed his physical therapy for his shoulder, but continued to work out in the gym after hours, as long as he got his work done, they did not seem to mind. He realized that he was in better shape than most people he saw in there. He had little else to do with no history, family or friends but work on his body, so he took to it with a will.
Somehow, he felt he was better off not knowing who he really was, he sensed that knowledge led to unhappy things. His present life was solitude, and simplicity, he believed his memories would eventually come back as he was told in the hospital, but he felt no sense of urgency. Those children he saw in his mind's eye, names just beyond his reach, he hoped they were okay, and he wished he could remember for their sakes, but he felt he was somehow endangering them with his presence; maybe it was better for them he was not there.
His beard filled out and he kept it neatly trimmed it was scratchy at times but he kept it, his bruises faded, when his brown hair grew back in, he kept it close shaven and under a toboggan cap. He found an apartment that matched his budget. Figuring out he was legally blind without glasses, the hospital had set him up for a charity eye clinic, and there he was given contacts for his eyes instead, since they are actually cheaper. He was unrecognizable to the man that stumbled into the Delco Street Free Clinic. Somehow, he knew that was a very good thing.
He kept to himself at the gym, trying to be unobtrusive, but more than one person noticed the quiet handsome man with the mop bucket, and of the shape, his body was in underneath the t-shirt and jogging pants he customarily wore when he worked. In the first month of employment at the gym, he wound up averaging five phone numbers a week, some from women, and some surprisingly from men. He just gave them a lopsided grin and pocketed them to be nice, throwing them away at the end of the day. Whoever that frowning woman was in his dreams, he sensed she would not be happy with him if he cheated, and with men? Nah!
He found the television news upset him.
He would hear of rising crime rates, a new Commissioner who commentators seem to think was a politician instead of a cop. The speculation over the previous Commissioner's whereabouts, a tired looking man with glasses whose picture they flashed on the screen from time to time. They speculated about the absence of Batman, and the failure of a special taskforce to capture the disgraced vigilante.
The image that Henry found most disturbing was of the smirking man in clown makeup aping for the camera. They called him the Joker, recently, classified as insane and locked up in the newly renovated Arkham Asylum that face had upset Henry and gave him nightmares so disturbing that he decided no more news for him. He had a hunch that he knew more about that clown than he really wanted to know. He began having nightmares about a man wearing a strange dual covered suit, and a weird metallic ringing noise he could never identify.
He would have stayed that way indefinitely, but one day he got a very big piece of the puzzle that was his memory, back.
The gym hosted several local programs, of which was a self-defence course taught by a big burly black man named Clarence Book.
The man was well over six foot, and moved big slabs of muscle around easily as if he was much smaller. He was gentle with his demonstrations when he needed to be and brutal when he had to be. He made sure that no one fought above his or her level. He and Henry were nodding acquaintances for the most part.
One day Henry was called in to mop up a puddle of sweat caused by a match that left the mat. He set about his work in silence with his back to the group, he was not even paying attention.
One of the older students spied him and wanting to prove himself in front of his friends and a couple of giggling girls, decided to prove his ability to pull a punch by scaring the janitor. He tapped Henry on his shoulder.
"Hey janitor dude." His buds guffawed as Henry rested his mop in the bucket and turned around.
The teenager's fist shot out at Henry's face intending to stop it an inch from his nose to make the man flinch, but instead the young man's fist smacked into Henry's intercepting palm. With a deft turn of his wrist, the young man was on his knees. Henry let go as soon as he realized what had happened. The pack of boys got angry at what they saw as an attack. Hormone driven teenagers are not the most logical creatures after all, so all four of them attacked at once.
Clarence heard a commotion and saw the older janitor take one of his best young pupils to his knees in seconds. He saw the other boys tense up and he had just begun to jog across the room when he realized the whole affair was already over. All four boys were picking themselves up off the floor; the janitor looked more disturbed by the whole affair than the boys were.
"You all are kicked out of my class for a week, we talked about rough housing. You're lucky this man here has some self-restraint; I could be scrapping you all up off the floor. I thought I taught you not to use your training for playtime! " They all filed out with their heads lowered in shame, glancing at the janitor as they left without protest, cradling their wounds. They were thoroughly whipped and they knew it. It was not sullen anger they watched the man with, but respect.
Henry just casually moved the bucket over to the new slick spots and got back to work. Clarence saw the Special Forces tattoo on the man's bicep, the rare unit insignia was one he recognized, he swallowed.
Those kids are lucky to be alive! He had another thought on top of that one. He had seen those same moves before, it was dark and rainy, but he had seen a man use those same moves to take out four armed men at one time in his old neighborhood.
He had to see if he was right.
"That goes for all of you. That's a good place to stop. See you all Thursday." Clarence's class departed, buzzing about what happened.
Henry finished and began to roll his bucket out.
"Don't you think we need to talk about this?" Clarence called.
Henry glanced up long enough to say, "Nope."
Clarence stopped him with a hand on his shoulder. "I want to know whose around these kids, so you're gonna talk to me.
Henry went to remove his hand and Clarence made a sudden move to restrain him, there was a rapid-fire flurry of moves and counter moves. Clarence was physically bigger which gave him a built in advantage, and he was also younger and highly trained, but that did not matter. Soon he was down on his knees being held in check with his arm twisted nearly to the point of dislocation.
"Don't you want to know who you are, man?" Clarence gasped.
Henry blinked as if coming out of a trance. "No," he said as he released Clarence's arm and began to walk away.
Clarence called out. "There's only one man I've ever seen that could do what you can do."
Henry stopped. He tensed up waiting.
Clarence got to his feet, his arm was sore but Henry had showed remarkable restraint in that he did not have any other injuries. "I know those moves, very few people in the world know that martial art you're using, I've only heard about it. The only man I know of in this town that uses it's not been around for months, so if you don't remember who you are, maybe that's because you're him."
Henry turned his blue-gray eyes cold and dispassionate. "Who? Who am I?"
Clarence smiled. "I think you're the Batman."
Henry decides what to do with his abilities, and moves toward some sense of purpose in his shadow existance. Batman, however, begins see the tip of the iceberg of what's really going on and tries to find a new source within the police force.
Who is the Mummy?