Joker in the Box
Things go to shit in a matter of seconds, as they always do; one moment she's on the way to give Commissioner Akins the bad news she knows he doesn't want to hear, and the next she's staring down the barrel of her gun as she puts three bullets in the Joker's back. Blam blam blam, he goes down grinning, blood soaking the back of his purple jacket.
Her squad room is a bloodbath, at least four officers down, and God only knows what else the freak has accomplished with his hands free for less time than it takes to make toast.
"You!" she barks at the first uniform who comes racing into the room. "Make sure this freak stays down."
"Yes, Captain!" the uniform says, face pale, Adam's apple bobbing. He fumbles for his weapon, but when he draws and holds on the green-haired freak on the floor, his hands are steady. She thinks his name is Henderson. He has a baby-face that gets him razzed, but he's good police.
"Jesus," she says, "somebody call an ambulance."
On the floor, Stacy curls around a waste paper basket and her shoulders heave as her last meal comes back up. Maggie stops herself from asking if she's okay, because clearly she isn't. But Stacy isn't bleeding or head shot, and that's got to be good enough for --
"Fuck, Probson," she says. Getting to the box is an obstacle course, she's weaving back and forth trying not to step in the blood and brains and foul the crime scene like a rookie. The door to the interrogation room is open and at first she can't see the Lieutenant, but then she takes another step and sees Probson's feet. He's on the floor on the other side of the table, Gotham phone book next to his head, its pages splattered with blood. Probson's, the Joker's -- it doesn't really matter now, because Probson's throat is a mess and he's turning blue.
Probson's fingers twitch. "Hhkkk --"
He pissed himself. She can smell it as she goes down on her knees, and she knows right then that Probson isn't going to make it. She doesn't need an M.E. to lift up an eyelid and say something about petechial hemorrhaging to understand that the Joker must have strangled Ron with his own handcuffs.
"Shit-shit-shit," Maggie hisses. She holsters her gun and reaches out, but closes her hands into fists a second later, because there's nothing she can do that she hasn't already done.
"Hhrrkkk --" Probson's breath rattles wetly in his throat. His eyes roll, pupils dilated.
"I got him, Ron," Maggie tells him. "Freak didn't make it out of our squad room."
Probson's body shifts as if he wants to sigh in relief, but the air can't move in or out. Maggie leans back against the wall and stares at the ceiling, listening to Commissioner Akins giving orders outside and the ugly sound of Probson dying.
She touches his shoulder. "You're not alone," she says, even though it's the worst kind of lie.
By the time the paramedics get there, it's over.
There's a crowd gathering when she walks out of the box, uniforms, detectives, and medical personnel. Her people look at her, and even though they can probably read the truth on her face, they don't lose hope until she shakes her head.
She can't remember now why it was such an honor and a privilege being asked to take shift command at Gotham M.C.U.. Being asked to fill Bullock's shoes, going back to the nitty-gritty of police work, no toys from S.T.A.R. Labs or SteelWorks, and no Big Blue taking a moment to be a friend even if he had to fly off a heartbeat later because there was an earthquake in China or an alien invasion. It's different here in Gotham; there's no black and white, just endless amounts of gray.
Maggie knows she'll remember why it was an honor tomorrow, after Angie Molina is found safe and sound, after she sleeps for the first time in three days, and after she calls Toby and hears her voice.
Tomorrow can't come soon enough.
Reference images from GOTHAM CENTRAL #15.
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