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First Line Crossed
Cop shops smelled like sweat, processed sugars, and bad coffee, additional scents depending on what area you were in and why you were there in the first place. Currently he was waiting to be booked, the furniture, walls, and some of the people around him smelling of fear and anxiety, blood and the stink of bodies that hadn't been washed recently. Even through the mask he wore over his mouth and nose Bane could smell it, the metal contraption he'd designed to strike fear into his enemies not meant to do anything other than that. Two cops had approached him with the obvious intent to remove it, but he'd stared them down and they'd retreated like the cowardly government dogs that they were. It would be interesting to see if they let him keep it on when it was time for his mug shot, as they had on two other occasions when they thought to put him away without the evidence to do so. They underestimated him always, and would continue to do so, he had no doubt.
He worried for Talia though, she would not get out of this so easily. Again and again he'd reminded her that if she carried a blade she needed to make sure it was under the legal limit, but she had disobeyed tonight and been caught. The rival gang they'd been fighting, who were on the opposite side of the room and here for the same reason, had members in the hospital whose flesh had been sliced by that blade and forensics would prove it.
Mentally cursing that fact and the knowledge that he could do nothing about that now, Bane turned his attention back to studying the room and its occupants, using it as a distraction from his worries. He studied the cops, estimating their ages, heights and weight, what their marriage status was, their rank, anything to push to the side the knowing that Talia was somewhere needing him and he was helpless to help her. He didn't know where she was and would be no help to her if he was arrested for resisting arrest or assaulting police officers on his way to seeking her out.
The slight nudge from his side reminded Bane that his closest friend after Talia was there, no doubt picking up on his tension and so silently reminding him, as only Barsad could, that they needed to be cool and collected at the moment. To show these pigs weakness was a cardinal sin.
No one would harm Talia, they would know what would happen if they did. He might only be nineteen in years but he had already made himself a name on the streets. Everyone knew him. The top brass of Gotham's criminal underworld had tried to court him and absorb him into their organizations and the cops gave him a wide berth whenever possible. He was feared. Respected. And he never turned the other cheek. There were men with wounds that would never completely heal on the streets now, visual testaments to what happened to anyone who crossed his precious Talia. She would be fine. He would find her. He'd always found her.
The sound of wild, not terribly creative cursing filled the room and got progressively louder, some of those in the room turning their head to see the cause including Bane. Two male cops were perp walking a third man towards the front of the room, the furious and uncooperative man struggling and cursing and trying to break free of the hold the cops had on him. The pig Bane could see clearly was in his late forties and struggled to keep his hold on his charge, while the other who wasn't totally visible apparently had no problem and spoke with authority and the hint of a sharp, deadly blade for a tongue as he ordered the man to stop struggling.
Another officer came over to speak to the cops, the older cop's words audible as he explained that the guy was being taken to Observation Room E and could he help him get the oily bastard there because Blake was already past shift and the kid needed a social life before he withered away and died.
What the younger cop, apparently named Blake, had to say about that wasn't loud enough to hear, but the other cop nodded and took over, the three moving off and leaving the previously unviewed officer within Bane's line of vision.
Bane's first thought was that he was looking at an officer, the uniform making that clear, the next that the body in that uniform looked slender but fit. Someone who actually took care of their body, no doubt still idealistic and brainwashed by government drones to think what he did was heroic and worthy of admiration. Soon that body would sag, Bane thought cynically, the pig cop getting fat as he stopped caring and got comfortable behind his desk while outside the innocents bled and suffered.
Feeling eyes on him Bane finally raised his higher than the man's shoulders to get his first real look at the officer's face, surprised to feel a-he had no words for this feeling, Bane realized in abstract surprise, the rest of his mind too busy cataloguing the neatly cut dark hair, classic cheekbones and ears slightly too large but appealing nonetheless. Age was hard to guess, the man had a young face, but he'd guess under thirty. There was an awareness in this one's eyes too, a sense that he was one of the few in the room who actually had intelligence and knew the value of being aware of his surroundings. This one had not grown up in some cozy, middle class home Bane somehow knew, his eyes narrowing in a mirror of the cop's own expression. There was something about this one…
And then the cop was moving towards him with strides that ate up the ugly carpeted floor, the officer not stopping or showing any trepidation in approaching him.
Curiosity had Bane making no effort to scare the cop away, his eyes widening slightly when the other man stopped slightly to his right and crouched down, Bane knowing what held the officer's interest the moment he felt fingers carefully brush his bare skin.
"What the fuck? Why the hell wasn't this properly taken care of?"
Bane wasn't sure the words were directed at him but just that quickly the one called Blake was on his feet again and marching over to one of the cops assigned to guard him and his men while they waited to be booked, demanding to know why the hell the suspect's arm hadn't been properly seen to. Had they even given him something for the pain, which had to be extreme since his hands were handcuffed behind his back, stretching the wound out so that it also bled out faster.
The broken bottle used to slash his arm had done some damage but he was too used to pain to care or worry about it overly. Barsad had told him that it wasn't deep enough to need stitches and that was enough for him. The medic had cleaned it up and wrapped it, obviously terrified of him the whole time, and then had all but run in the other direction.
Craning his neck Bane could see that the previously white bandages were very red at the moment, the sight not worrying him overly because again, it was nothing new. Instead he turned his attention to see what Blake was up to since the arguing had stopped, not really surprised to see that the officer was gone. The other cop would have told him who he was and that had been that. No cop in this building would mourn his passing, they'd be fine if he bled out. Not that he would, but he had no delusions about himself, his reputation, or the fact that their promise 'to serve and protect' were hollow words to these men and women.
It was fifteen minutes or so later when Bane sensed the cop's approach again, looking up and over to see that it was indeed Officer Blake striding towards him with-with a First Aid kit in one hand. Shocked as his brain came to the most logical conclusion as to why the cop would be carrying that white box Bane once again found himself at a loss for words as the officer came to a stop and once again went down to his knees beside him, setting down the case and opening it.
"I'm going to fix up your arm if I can, or see that you're taken to be stitched up if need be. I'll be as careful as possible, and I know what I'm doing. Lashing out at the person trying to help you will not end well for you, capice?"
Not knowing what else to do Bane settled for giving the cop his strongest, 'you're nothing and I could kill you in a heartbeat' look.
Apparently the cop wasn't smart enough to know possible death when he saw it, because that was definitely a smirk on the slightly older man's face before the cop turned his attention to gently unwrapping the clumsily done bandages, the way the officer cursed the incompetent, useless medic giving Bane back his words.
"Anyone with intelligence fears me."
The cop didn't even look at him. "If she couldn't do her job she should have gotten someone else to do it."
"You don't know who I am."
"Sure I do. You're the infamous Big, Bad Bane. Gotham's latest teenage menace." The cop's voice was a mixture of amusement and derision. And then those big brown eyes were meeting his, the emotions he'd heard in the man's voice in them too. "We might get a lot of guys with masks around here, but yours is pretty distinctive."
"I could snap your neck like a twig."
"And I could snap yours." The cop surprised him by stating, the look in his eyes making Bane believe him. "But at the moment I'm trying to help your steroid filled ass, so what's say we pretend that mask of yours is actually a muzzle?"
Mean, edgy laughter came from across the room. "You tell him, John." More laughter.
The sharp edge was back in the man's tongue as the officer turned to look at the gangbanger whose laughter cut off quickly when 'John' began to speak.
"Shut it, Donny. At least this guy actually makes us work to catch him. Seems I heard the last time you were in here it was because you left your fucking wallet behind after robbing and knocking around some little Asian woman at a convenience store. Around here you're a big laugh."
"Fuck you, John!"
"Not for all the money in the world, Assehole. Now shut it or I'll make sure you and Bane here get better acquainted in lockup."
The man shut it, visibly paling as he looked between the two of them before his gaze dropped to the ground and stayed there.
Bane made sure to heighten the human cockroach's unease by glaring at him for several moments with cold, heartless intent before he allowed his gaze to shift back to the cop who had finished wiping away the fresh blood and was now using butterfly bandages to close up the gash.
Obviously sensing his gaze the cop didn't look up as he informed him that the medic had done a good job of cleaning the wound out, if nothing else. It didn't look like he would need stitches.
Already knowing this Bane found himself speaking before thinking, his voice gruffer than normal behind the mask as he stated that he didn't do steroids or any other drugs. His strength was his own. Why it mattered to him that the cop knew this Bane didn't know, but it suddenly did.
Again Blake glanced up at him, skepticism in his eyes. "Given your age and likely poor diet that's quite the claim."
"I would not sully my body that way."
"You leave that up to your men and the stupid bastards who buy from them, huh?"
"We're not dealers."
"Maybe you aren't, but plenty of your boys are real familiar with Vice and Illegals."
Unable to argue with that, though he'd made it clear to those who joined his and Talia's organization that drug use was strictly prohibited, Bane opted to learn more about this strange cop who seemed intelligent enough to fear him but apparently refused to show or admit to that fact. "Your name is Blake? John Blake?"
"That's Officer Blake to you. But yeah."
"And why don't you fear me?"
Silence for a moment, and then his question was answered with logic he could appreciate. "You aren't completely stupid. Killing me here and now won't get you anything but a life sentence for killing a cop. Not to mention the fact that it would be hard for you to maintain your badass rep in prison with only one arm because you lost this one due to gross stupidity and infection. Prisons aren't known to be highly sterile and sanitary."
Unable to argue with that, then he really would be stupid, Bane didn't bother, remaining silent as he let the officer get back to work fixing him up.
Officer Blake had just finished up and was removing the gloves he'd been wearing when the man's phone signaled. While Bane watched the cop pulled out a black cellphone and accessed what he assumed was a text message, whatever written there causing the older man's features to tighten a little and then it was being deleted and the cell was being shoved back into his pant pocket. It was only because of their closeness that Bane caught the words muttered by his unexpected medic, the just of which was the fact that the officer had been dumped again.
"Women do not like to be kept waiting." He might not be interested in ever getting a girlfriend, but even he knew that basic rule thanks to Talia.
The officer's chuckle was both amused and self-deprecating. "Neither do men."
It took a moment for him to connect the dots. "Your date was with a man?"
"Yup, you've been letting yourself get felt up by a genuine fag. Why do you think he's been helping you? You're just his type, ain't he, Johnny?"
And as before the cop shot the pissant down like it was nothing. "Don't mind, Donny, he's just jealous that I can actually handle another man in bed, while the best he can manage is hookers he has to pay not to laugh at his undersized everything."
That got some laughs and jeers from the man's gang members, most of them aimed at Donny though a few were for the officer. None made a move to throw any insults in Bane's direction, but that was sheer self-preservation. They all probably thought he'd start snapping their necks if they insinuated he might be gay. He wouldn't have cared, in truth, but the less they talked to him the better. That he wanted to tell them to be quiet had more to do with some of the looks they were giving Blake than himself. His own men were silent and had remained so since they got here. He'd trained them well.
Seeming to ignore the looks and slurs Blake finished packing up the case and then rose to his feet in one smooth motion, keeping his attention on him and him alone.
Bane didn't know why, but having this man's sole attention made him feel…pleased. Special.
"At this point I'd be stuffing a cookie in your mouth and getting you some Coke, but I hear you get testy if someone tries to take that mutilated tin can off your face so that's out. Try to keep the wound clean and baby the arm for a while."
The grin transformed the officer's face, making him look even younger and showing off dimples that were surprising and strangely appealing. "Never given blood, have you? To bring up your sugar levels? And don't say you'd prefer Pepsi, because I don't buy that crap. Ever."
"I don't drink Pepsi."
"Then maybe there's hope for you yet." The squeeze to his shoulder had Bane tightening his muscles there automatically, his surprise at the touch in his eyes as he looked up the man's arm to the officer it belonged to.
And then Blake was gone again, striding over to the front area to turn in the case and speak with the man behind the glass. The conversation was short and then the officer started to turn, instinct telling Bane that something was up even though he couldn't quite put his finger on what aspect of the man's body language had tipped him off.
As he watched Blake left the administrative area and started to head back towards the elevators, close, too close to the side where the Bloods had been situated. And then he stopped in front of one and Bane knew what had caught the officer's eyes. Somehow, perhaps in the reflection of the glass or some tell on the street thug's part, Blake had noticed that the man was carrying a blade in his boot.
Tensing up, though there would be nothing he could do and he didn't know why he would care, Bane watched the man crouched down with sudden grace, neatly grabbing the ankle of the foot that had come out to try and kick him away while he pulled the concealed knife out with the other.
Having caught on, admittedly a bit late, the guard who should have checked his charges over more thoroughly was there to push the gangbanger back into the bench when he would have gotten to his feet and attempted to charge Blake even though he was handcuffed.
Getting to his feet Blake's eyes were coolly on his would be attacker. "Children shouldn't play with knives." And now those dark eyes moved over to meet the guard's. "And gangbangers should always be thoroughly searched for concealed weapons."
With that Officer Blake turned the weapon in and then left for the last time, Bane's eyes on him until the other man was out of sight.
"Unusual." Barsad said.
"Very." Bane responded, speaking both of the officer, and his reaction to him.