In the end, she needs to go. She's a stranger to Metropolis now. She doesn't fit here anymore or, maybe, it's Metropolis that doesn't fit her. It's grown up around her, changed, shifted, until the streets she once knew so well are more alien than the man that flies above them.
"What's it they say? I think I worked myself out of a job," she says, one night, curled against Toby's side.
Toby strokes her hair and doesn't argue.
The SCU's thriving, new and bright officers are coming up through the ranks to fill the places she and Dan had worked so hard to carve out, and she tries to tell herself that's a compliment.
She was the rookie once. The kid with the brilliant future who'd landed a squad too big and too public for her. There's a decade behind her of impossible saves, mind-boggling truths, and gut-wrenching losses, and she's not that much older, but she feels like dust and bone watching those new faces mill about her squad room.
Dan's laughter echoes in the air around her. It's almost enough to make her believe in ghosts.
"They need me there," she says, later, surprised by how much the sadness in Superman's eyes hurts. She can remember a day when she didn't want him in her city. She can't imagine him anywhere else now, even when she doesn't fit anymore, and there's something reassuring about that.
She can leave. She can go. Dan's not here, but Superman will be and he'll take care of the city for them both. Metropolis is in good hands and, unlike Gotham, will be long after she actually is dust and bone. Her city is safe. Protected. It reassures and unsettles her all at once.
Looking at him, she feels guilty to even be thinking like this. For his part, Superman is nodding at her comment. He's perched on the fire escape, a cup of her grandmother's china cradled in his hands. He should look ridiculous, but he doesn't.
He looks like one of the few friends she has left. Definitely one of the oldest. Funny. She doesn't even know his real name.
"It isn't like here," he says, and she has a feeling he's trying to be diplomatic.
She grins. "Afraid Batman will hear you?"
"Yes," he surprises her by blushing. "You'd be surprised what that man can find out."
"I suppose I will be," she says, not sure what to make of that. She's wary of the Batman in ways she never was, or ever will be, with Superman. She's not sure of him or the cadre of like-minded vigilantes he's surrounded himself with. She doesn't know what she's walking into and she doesn't like that one bit.
"We'll miss you," Superman says. He reaches through the open window and lays a hand on her arm. "If you need anything―"
She tips a small smile at him over the mug of her coffee. "I thought Batman didn't like the League operating in his city?"
Superman shrugs. "He'll just have to deal with it. If you need me, I'm there, and he doesn't get a say in that."
"Rebel," she teases, resisting the urge to ruffle his hair. Some day, the instinct to treat him like the kid brother she never had will go away. Still, she knows he means it. "But thank you."
She remembers that promise. It's a constant temptation in the beginning. Standing on the roof, hands in her pockets against the ever present chill of Gotham's smog-filled sky, she watches the commissioner nod at Stacy and the light illuminate the clouds.
"No signal," Stacy says, looking back at her. "Not even once?"
Maggie shakes her head. "Not even once."
"Then how did you―" Stacy waves her hand. "You know."
Maggie flicks a look at the commissioner and sees him smile. She bites her cheek to suppress the grin and dryly says, "Found a rookie and threw him off the roof. Worked every time."
Folding her arms, Stacy makes a face.
"Just kidding," Maggie says, patting Stacy's shoulder. "We asked Lois Lane to do it."
"So I hear."
The new voice, deep and raspy, is pretty much what she was expecting. She turns her head to look at the shadow on the ledge and raises one eyebrow.
Maggie pushes her hands into her pockets again, meeting Batman's eye, and reminds herself that Superman trusts him and that should be enough.
Some day, she hopes that it will be.
She goes home to Yin's takeaway. Superman's sitting on the fire escape with the bag in his hands. Maggie opens her mouth to warn him that the fire escape is not exactly, well, safe, but she realizes he's not sitting on the rickety metal at all. He's floating just above it.
Opening her window, Maggie looks pointedly at the fire escape. He ducks his head, hair falling across his brow with the motion, and looks all of five years old as he blushes. "I didn't want to break it."
She laughs. "You would have fixed it anyway." Superman works like he's held a hammer all his life and his heat vision-fueled soldering is impeccable. Another piece of a puzzle she doesn't really have any intentions of solving. "Is that―"
He holds out the bag, but doesn't slip through the window. He never has. Never will. She doesn't pretend to understand the lines he and the rest of the League draw for themselves, but she does respect them. She doesn't invite him in, but she goes for plates and cutlery and drags a chair back so they can eat together.
"He likes you."
Maggie pauses, mid-bite, and takes a second or so to parse out what he's trying to tell her. When she gets it, she chews, swallows, and nods. "He told you." She's not asking, but she is trying to picture how that meeting went. Batman trying to interrogate Superman. She's almost tempted to tell the squad about it just to hear what Driver and company would say.
Superman picks at his food, sneaking a look her way that, she guesses, is supposed to be conspiratorial. "He wanted an opinion on you."
"Oh, to be a fly on that wall," Maggie says, noncommittal. "Do I get to know what you said?"
Superman shoves a forkful of dinner into his mouth and takes his time chewing. Maggie makes a face and steals his noodles. It's only fair.
He seems to agree because he lets her have the shrimp without a fight too.
"I told him he could trust you," Superman says a minute later. He's put down his fork in favor of staring steadily at her. "And that I trusted you like he trusts Jim Gordon."
"Thank you," she says, seriously, and then smiles, "So, do I get to ask you about him?"
Superman's grin is impish. "On or off the record?"
The change is just what the doctor ordered. She likes Gotham. She shouldn't, but she does. It's gritty, hard, and the adjustment is more difficult than she would have imagined. There's a lot living in Metropolis has made her forget.
Metropolis isn't the shining beacon of perfection the tourist bureau would have people to believe, but it's easier to be out there. Easier to be safe with someone like Superman a cry for help away. She's seen the population stats, but she didn't need them to know that Metropolis has a higher percentage of gay and lesbian citizens than any other city in the country.
The irony amuses her in a twisted sort of way. She can feel the tension at work, knows that Montoya is seeing even more of it than she is, and sees it for herself when she and Toby go out.
The break-up isn't easy, but reporters in Gotham are a different animal than their Metropolis counterparts. Maggie knows it's over long before Toby gets a job offer from the Daily Planet.
That doesn't mean it doesn't hurt, but even she knows it doesn't hurt the way it should and maybe that's why almost no one in the MCU even notices the absence of Toby's name on Maggie's lips.
Montoya, she thinks, notices, but to her credit, also says nothing. Instead, she seems to open up, become more willing to ask Maggie questions about being a gay cop (and, worse, a female gay cop.)
Yes, maybe it's more about distracting Maggie from the loss than it is actually needing help, but that's the thing: even if it is, Maggie's not going to pass up the chance to actually help.
"So much for Gotham being the modern day Sodom," she says into a drink, rewarded by the way Renee snorts into hers. "This town is a thousand times more conservative than Metropolis on its worst day."
Renee shakes her head, but she's smiling. "Do I even want to know where that thought came from?"
"Train of thought ended up on the wrong track," Maggie shrugs easily, "but it is true, you know."
"Gotham being conservative?" Renee's laughter soft, rich, and Maggie shivers. "Only until the sun goes down. One thing no one can accuse the Batman of being is conservative."
"Well," Maggie raises a hand, signalling the bartender, "He is practically a Republican wet dream—right up until you get to his views on gun control."
"Which probably have him on an NRA hitlist somewhere."
Along with most of the Justice League, but Maggie doesn't point that one out. Handguns had fallen out of favor in Metropolis years before. Sure, they worked against the police, but against Superman? The arms business had been doing brisk business in everything from SAMs to napalm right up until she and her people had shut most of the major players down.
She's determined to do the same in Gotham. It's been a long time since she had a windmill to tilt at and it feels good.
Kate's red hair bounces as she rushes to catch up with Maggie, nothing like Toby's soft brown, but her smile is equally infectious. "The Knights are playing the Sharks," she says. "Do I dare ask who you're rooting for?"
"You can ask," Maggie says, leaning into the question, enjoying the way Kate stills and watches her move, "but who says I'll answer?"
Kate's fingers flick over her forearm, a brush against her skin, but Maggie shivers just the same. "I do." She tucks the tickets into Maggie's pocket, this touch lingering longer and sending a delicious heat through the coarse fabric of Maggie's pants. "I'll pick you up after work. We can have dinner before the game."
Maggie nods. "It's a date."
She cancels when the Penguin leads an assault on the Mayor's birthday party. Something about the city's pigeon plans. Batwoman shows up in the midst of the assault, catching Maggie's hand when she goes over a balcony railing.
"Bet this isn't what you had in mind when you moved to Metropolis," she says, husky voice a potentially dangerous distraction in the midst of a gunfight.
Maggie chuckles and checks her gun. "No, but I don't mind the odd surprise."
Which is good since Batwoman's gone when she looks up.
She's exhausted when she gets home. Grimy from landing in something she really doesn't want to remember. She unlocks the door and moves on autopilot. That used to mean locking up her gun in the table by the door, but that was Metropolis. This is Gotham and she keeps it on her until she's cleared every room.
The smell of the pizza meets her at her bedroom door and Maggie laughs when she sees him sitting outside her window. "Checking up on me?"
Superman grins. He's brought beer too. Doesn't work on him, of course, and she barely touches the stuff herself, but she appreciates the effort.
"I promised I would."
Maggie doesn't ask who. Dan's been gone for years now, lost to Darkseid's assault, but she remembers her promises to him too.
"I met someone," she says, later, when the pizza's gone and she's lingering over her beer.
Superman's eyebrows raise and he smiles. "Tell me all about her."