The precinct is in an uproar by the time Gordon gets in. Some officers are yelling at each other, either side arguing their points violently. Most agree to let Zsasz go, in fear of his revenge, and few others want him sent to Blackgate.
Jim pushes past the crowds of cops, praying that none are stupid enough to use their guns or fists to prove their point. The cells are filled with the usual crowd of delinquents but the hitman is nowhere in sight.
He grabs the nearest officer roughly and asks, “Where’s Zsasz?”
Jim practically sprints down into the hallway. He dodges a few people, and finds the door blocked by two newbies.
“Sorry, Sir. Captain Bullock is questioning Zsasz. Can’t let you in.” The youngest smirks, still pleased with himself for catching the infamous assassin.
“Markel, right?” Jim starts as he eyes the rookie with barely controlled anger. “Are you the one who arrested him?”
“Yes, Sir. We both did.” Markel gestures to his friend with a proud grin. Poor kid doesn't understand what he’s done.
“How? Zsasz wouldn’t come quietly.”
“I shot him, Sir.” The rookie recounts how Zsasz almost got away but two bullets and a thorough beating managed to subdue the hitman long enough to cuff and throw him into the back of the patrol car. “I know it’s probably too soon to ask, Sir, but I don’t suppose we could get promoted? After all, we did Gotham a huge favour.”
Jim grits his teeth throughout the story. “What you’ve done, kid, is unleashed hell on this city. Zsasz keeps the underworld in line. Without him, the scumbags won’t have anyone to fear. You’ll be lucky if you survive the weekend. Now move aside.”
Markel stares in disbelief but does as ordered, stepping away from the door. His partner looks equally frustrated.
Jim shoulders past and strides into the interrogation room, slamming the door on the idiot rookies. Jim can’t blame them, he would have done the same a few years ago.
“Look, whatever you’ve been up to with Jim, you can tell me. I know you’re out for blood, so let me help. The more assholes are locked up, the better Gotham will be. Come on, Zsasz. Talk to me.” Harvey pleads as he sits on the edge of the table, watching the hitman closely. At the sound of the door, he turns his head and smiles tightly. “Good of you to join us, Jim.”
Zsasz raises his head an inch at the newcomer but returns to his task. Spread across the table is a medical kit, and Victor busies himself with bandaging up his thigh.
A thick puddle of blood drips from the metal chair onto the tiles and Victor’s hands are working hard to stop it. His arm makes a similar mess.
“Why aren’t you helping him?” Jim questions bitterly as he steps further into the room.
The sight of Victor in a thin t-shirt and boxers would normally make his heart speed up but the blood is too distracting.
Harvey scoffs. “You think I haven’t tried? It’s like trying to pet an angry tiger.” Both cops turn their heads quizzically at the hitman’s quiet chuckle but Harvey continues to complain. “He wouldn’t let the examiner anywhere near. And he won’t tell me anything. You know I’m trying to let you go, Zsasz. But I need to know what you’re up to!”
The assassin says nothing, not even wincing as he guides the needle through the bullet wound. He’s chosen to deal with the worst one first.
“Can I sort out your arm, Victor? You’re losing a lot of blood.” Jim states, concern in his voice.
The hitman shrugs with his uninjured shoulder and lets the detective clean the wound.
The bullet has collided with the top layer cleanly, taking a small chuck of his flesh. The amount of blood makes it seem worse than it really is. Jim dabs it gently, impressed at the lack of discomfort Victor portrays. He suspects the needle is worse than the alcohol.
“Alright, Jim, you tell me what’s going on.” Harvey speaks loudly, breaking the comforting silence.
He slaps his knees and stands up, annoyed and stressed. The yelling outside doesn’t elevate but the crowds aren’t going away either.
“We tracked Sarah White down. She told us about the people she hired to kidnap Penguin.” Jim recounts as he wraps the gauze around Victor's toned bicep and shoulder.
He glances at the bruises scattered across his face and guilt surges up, almost causing Jim to flinch away from the hitman's warm skin. Not all of them are his fault but he still drops his head in shame.
“So where is she?”
“Dead.” It’s the first word Victor has spoken since being dragged into the station. Jim clenches his jaw but says nothing, ignoring Harvey’s annoyed scoff.
“Of course. And since you’re finally talking, wanna tell me why you were shooting up the place?” Harvey asks, acting very part the disgruntled old man he pretends to be.
Jim pays closer attention, equally curious.
“They were responsible. I made them pay. There’s one person left.” The words are muttered quietly as Victor finishes with a wince as he tied the thread and starts wrapping up his leg. The crumpled bullet sits on the table and Jim stares at it wordlessly.
“Well you’re done now, pal. We'll call this a public service and you can go home. The police will deal with the last guy. Just give us a name.”
“Harv, those cops out there won’t let him walk,” Jim reminds with a frown. The rookies outside won’t let that happen, let alone the dozen armed men in the main hall.
“I’ve got an idea,” Harvey smirks happily. “But I’ll need both of you to cooperate. And I'm going to need a name and address from you, tough guy.”
The door of interrogation room 3 creaks open and Harvey pokes his head out. He glances at the two rookies and smiles, closing the door behind him.
“You boys did Gotham a great service today. I’ll make sure you’re both rewarded for your efforts. Shall we talk in my office?” The rookies smirk to each other, brimming with pride to hear such words from the Captain, and follow Bullock down the hallway.
Once the footsteps have faded, Jim turns back to Victor and sees him zipping up his jeans. He nods at Victor once he has his attention. The punch hurts like a bitch and he feels the hot rush of blood down his face.
“Fuck!” Jim exclaims as he stumbles back and clutches his face, blood staining his fingers. He glares at Victor but it needs to look like the hitman escaped custody. “Satisfied?”
“Very. Payback's a bitch.”
“We're letting you walk. Be grateful, Victor. And you better go straight to my apartment. Oswald needs you.”
“I don’t follow your orders, Jim. I work for Penguin, not you.” Victor states as he limps past and exits the room without another word.
Jim sighs and spots the bullet on the table. He pockets it without a thought, the cold weight reminding Jim just how far Victor will go.
I don’t try, and I never stop. Those terrifying words surface up in Jim's head after all these months and although he'd always taking it as scare tactic, the realisation hits him that Victor was telling him the truth. Zsasz is unbelievably determined. Two bullets, a beating and several stabbings later and he was still on the hunt.
Jim wonders if losing a limb or two would even stop him for a minute. It’s doubtful. Victor is the equivalent of the terminator in Gotham. That thought causes him to chuckle lightly despite himself. Checking his watch, he notices that enough time has passed that Jim can leave the room and declare Zsasz missing.
He heads to the car park, blood dripping slowly onto his shirt. Victor is already gone. Time to run back inside and inform the Captain.
Harvey’s plan goes through without a hitch. The officers grumble and bicker as the unfortunate news circles around the station, and Jim catches the two crestfallen rookies consolidating each other over some coffee.
Guilt crashes down on him once more but he stands by what he told them.
The old him would have been out there, chasing the assassin down. Thankfully, the newbies don’t have that much determination.
Zsasz does keep the peace and his departure would worsen the state of the underworld. Penguin’s kidnapping has already caused a stir as people try to gain from his disappearance, even though it’s only been a few days. Scuttlebutt says gang activity has already increased but it's not Jim's department, thankfully.
Jim sits at his desk, and grabs his phone. His thumb scrolls through the contacts until he reaches O.
Jim 13.56pm: he broke out after giving us the name. He should be on his way to you. Let me know when he gets back.
The detective stares at the screen for a minute before pocketing it and typing up a brief statement on what happened in the room. At least the cameras have no audio.
The tapes can be edited if necessary too. Not that Harvey will let anyone see them since he'll be overseeing the issue.
He keeps it short and sweet, and places it on Harvey’s desk with a smirk. The older man sighs.
“You know he’s not going to keep his promise.”
“I do,” Jim admits solemnly.
“Good, cause I sent a unit to watch that address he gave us. And another near where he was arrested. Should give us more chances to catch him and this Jamey guy.”
“Thanks, Harv. I know it couldn’t have been easy to let him walk.”
Harvey stares at him incredulously. “You’re kidding, right? If we arrest him, the city will go crazy. Crazier. Who would even let Zsasz go to Blackgate? No judge or mobster would allow it. I’m saving us a lot of paperwork.”
“Right, well thanks anyways. I’m off to find Jamey. I’ll try to bring him back by tonight.” Harvey waves him out with a tired huff. “See you soon, buddy.”
The parking lot of the GCPD is half filled with ancient and trendy vehicles. The sunlight filters through the concrete support beams but Jim has always parked in the same shady area since he first transferred to the force, and he doesn't plan to pick another spot soon.
He sits back in the worn leather and switches on the radio. The afternoon news doesn’t even reach his ears. He’s too caught up in his thoughts to pay attention to anything.
Jim sighs for the hundredth time and slams a hand down on the steering wheel.
He hastily grabs his phone, cursing himself even as he scrolls through his contacts. The call button gets jabbed too harshly.
A dull beep rings twice before a soft and rushed voice answers it.
“Jim! Is everything alright?” Oswald exclaims. Jim prays he didn’t wake the mobster up from his well needed rest.
“Yeah, Oswald, everything is fine. Did you get my text?”
“I... My apologies, I just woke up.” Jim smacks the steering wheel again in frustration. “Judge Judy is unsurprisingly boring as always. But to answer your message, he hasn’t returned yet.”
“You know where he is, don’t you?”
“In a sense. I know what he’s doing, but not where he is exactly. I haven’t placed on tracker on him." After a tense pause, he says, "I should've known you wouldn’t let it go, Jim.”
“I can’t ignore this.”
“What would you even arrest them for? I’m not going to testify or let you charge them. I want them dead.”
“Victor got shot. He’s wounded and he still won’t back down.”
There’s another short pause before Oswald answers. “I guess you too have a lot in common. He can take care of himself.”
“I know that... I just- I hate knowing he’s out there alone.”
Oswald sighs on the other end of the line, and Jim can hear fabric rustling. He imagines the kingpin shuffling around on his couch, hair mussed and blanket wrapped tightly around his small body.
“45, Rounder’s street. Room 301. It’s where Victor was headed.”
Jim smiles tightly, and nods even though Oswald can’t see the movement. “Thank you, Oswald.”
“Be careful. He doesn’t like you very much right now.”
“I’ll buy him some flowers,” Jim jokes. He hears Oswald's soft, genuine laugh, and everything seems to narrow down to that sound.
“Good luck with that.” After a moment of companionable silence, Oswald suggests, “He likes peonys. Preferably red.”
“Thanks. I’ll keep that in mind. I’ll see you soon. Get some rest, Oswald.”
“I will. Goodbye, Jim.” The kingpin hangs up first, and snuggles back into his mountain of pillows with a smile.
Jim sighs and chuckles at the absurdity of his life. He drops the phone on the passenger seat and turns the engine on, pulling out of the carpark.