Gotham City...Rooftop of Gotham City Police Headquarters
“---broken wrist, four broken ribs, multiple contusions, and punctured lung,” Commissioner Jim Gordon read from a clipboard in the dim light of the batsignal, then raised his eyes to the caped figure a few feet away. “If this was you holding back...”
“I don't have to explain myself. He's alive, unlike the three people he sprayed with that gas,” Batman growled back.
“Actually, these days, you do have to explain yourself. To me. Because I then have to explain this department's relationship with you to the Mayor, the Governor, and every other politician and bureaucrat getting heat for this from the media. The media is hinting...no saying flat out that you're escalating. That you're getting too violent to be trusted. Putting someone in intensive care, even if it is the Joker, feeds right into their agenda.”
“Their agenda is seriously skewed if they focus on that and not the people he killed.”
“Apologies for the pun, Batman, but we all have to play the cards we're dealt, including you.”
Batman clenched his jaw in realization. “It's not just the media. You think I'm too violent.”
“I think you've had a Hell of a year. I think that despite your best efforts to make everyone else think otherwise, you are human. You've got a lot built up and it's coming out.” He waved the clipboard. “It's coming out here. Jesus, all we need is one of these thugs to die on us before we can take 'em in. Do you have any idea what would happen then?”
“What do you want me to do? They're killing people out there! This isn't a movie, Jim. When people die, they die!”
“Exactly, and unfair as it is, no matter how many lives you save, one dead perp and this is over. Not just for you but for everyone who's supported you. Get that through your head!” Jim shouted back.
Batman didn't reply. Jim was right. It wasn't fair and it didn't make sense, not after everything he did every night to save this city...
“What do you want me to do?”
“Take a break. Get out of the city for while. Work out whatever it is you need to work out. I don't care how, just do it.”
“I can't leave this city.”
“The fine men and woman of Gotham City Police Department can manage without you for a few days,” Jim said icily, then added, “I'll turn on the signal. People won't know you're gone. You need to do this.”
“Is this an order?” Batman, his gruff voice laced with sarcasm.
“No, it's advice. From a friend. If you stay on this road you're on, you're going to put me in a position where I can't defend you. Is that what you want?”
Jim reached over and threw the switch on the batsignal. It went dark.