“So, what is it, boss?” Montoya asked, handing him a giant coffee cup. She definitely had her moments, and any time when she provided him with caffeine was worth all those other times when she made his workdays difficult and his life miserable.
“What is what, Montoya?”
She sighed heavily, as if Jim was making her life incredibly difficult. If so, then good. It was only fair. “The mystery bust. Don’t tell me it’s not today; Dent faxed the blank warrants and you have your lucky tie on.”
Jim rolled his eyes. “I wasn’t aware I had a lucky tie.”
“You do,” Bullock backed her up. “It’s even uglier than your regular ties. I’m told,” he added with a small shrug in the direction of the lady undoubtedly responsible for the statement.
Jim chose to ignore them. This time. “Fine. Yes, this is it, Montoya.”
“So, what are we mystery busting?”
“The warrants are for the five banks we suspect hold the mob’s money.”
Montoya whistled. “No wonder you have the lucky tie. Great. I’ll bring my lucky gun, then.”
“She has a lucky gun?” Jim asked. “Don’t answer it,” he told Bullock. “Of course she does.”
Lucky tie or lucky gun or nothing lucky at all; somehow it went off without a hitch. The money now safely locked away in the evidence lockers amounted to billions. Montoya shook her head for a good half an hour after they closed the evidence storage.
“I didn’t even know that in this economy we had so much paper money,” she said in a wondering tone.
“Don’t think about it too much,” Bullock teased and they all fell into a reasonably pleased silence. The whole precinct was much more quiet than usual, the contentment of a job well done stretching around them, but Jim knew it was only the beginning.
Cutting the mob from their funds was just the first step, they were bound to find other sources of financing their operations. What they needed to do now, was arresting the remaining money launderers. That was Lau, but getting that particular warrant was much more difficult. Harvey was still working on that one, and right now, they were on a tight timeline. Any moment now Lau would get a wind of their plans and hightail it back home.
But this was the part Jim didn’t share with the class; they all deserved this one day of victory.
The relative calm lasted for a grand four minutes, which was when Montoya’s cellphone perked up. “Hey, you’re on tv,” she announced cheerfully, bouncing up to turn on the one in the office, the one that kept on losing sound if it was on for more than an hour and you had to thump it to get the voice back.
“TV calls you now, Montoya?” Jim asked before he could stop himself.
Renee rolled her eyes at him. “No, I subscribe to Gotham Tonight’s twitter feed.”
“Gotham Tonight’s what?”
She looked at him for a very long moment, obviously wondering if trying to explain whatever a twit was would be a waste of her time or an occasion to make fun of him. “Nevermind.”
Probably for the better. The TV, set on GCN, indeed was currently showing Jim’s face. An unflattering photo, if he was to say so himself, taken from his file. At least not from his driver’s license, that one was goddamn awful.
“Do you even own ties that aren’t really fugly?” Renee inquired curiously and he was quite tempted to roll his eyes at her but he had most of the day ahead of himself; there will be more exasperation coming from that way.
“Is fugly even a word?” he said instead, frowning half-heartedly. The news item credited him and the MCU with the greatest victory against the mob in the recent months. This was probably good; recognition translated to funds and they could use some equipment that was actually manufactured in this decade. On the other hand, he didn’t like some of the phrases tossed around; the reporters tended to exaggerate his involvement and this wasn’t an exception.
“Nicely done, Jimbo,” Stephens muttered.
“Things go that way, boss, Loeb’s gonna have no choice but to promote you to Chief of Detectives,” Montoya added, which meant that sadly, Jim was right about too much spin put on the story. “Which means you’ll have more say on the budget. And some lovely detectives’ salaries.”
“She might be joking, Jim, but she’s also right. People are noticing, you’re going to have your hands full soon,” Gerry warned him.
There was that.
And there was the part where he already had his hands quite full. In the late afternoon Harvey had called that the warrant on Lau finally came through; he managed to rope Surillo into signing on it. They had probable cause, and they could probably scramble up enough evidence to ensure a few months of jail time – it probably would be enough to get Lau to talk.
If not, there were other sources.
And speaking of other sources; Harvey was, predictably, getting impatient. He insisted on bringing the warrant himself, glancing at Jim pointedly as he arrived, his head inclining the stairs leading up to the rooftop.
Jim stuck his hands in his pockets and shuffled his feet uncomfortably, pointedly not looking at the signlight as Harvey inspected it.
“So, this is it?” he asked wonderingly and Jim shrugged.
“Yes, I suspect rookie pranks, to be honest. Kids nowadays, they get strange ideas.”
“Cut the bullshit, Jim,” Harvey suggested pleasantly. “You know, Rachel says I should drop it. Says I’m safer not asking questions.”
“Rachel’s a smart woman. It would do you well to listen to her.”
“Probably,” Harvey agreed with a small smile that indicated how besotted he was. It was a good thing, since no one was going to shoot him for not treating Rachel right. “Do you know him?”
“We’ve met, you gathered as much,” Jim admitted.
“Not what I’m asking. Do you know him?”
Jim was well aware the no-bullshit, honest and open way of asking difficult questions was a driving force behind Harvey’s successful campaign. He actually liked Harvey because of that, too. But right then, he really didn’t appreciate it.
“Harvey,” he said instead, his tone flat, looking up and fixing his gaze on the other man.
“Fine. Let’s try the other one. Do you trust him?”
“Yes.” That one was a no-brainer, instinctive and quick; a gut answer if there was any.
Too fast, judging from the look Harvey shot him, but well, it was out there. After a moment, Harvey nodded. “Alright then. May I?” he asked, gesturing at the light, and Jim nodded reluctantly.
“Be my guest. Just don’t be disappointed if he doesn’t show up. It’s there to remind people he’s out there, it’s not exactly a direct line.”
“Do you have one of those?”
Cheap shot, one that Jim promptly ignored.
“I’m here,” Bruce said from the shadows, his voice lowered into the official Batman growl. He must have been somewhere nearby, to get here so quickly. That, or Rachel called ahead and warned him of Harvey’s visit. It probably added to the vigilante mystique, but mostly, it just reminded Jim how complicated and tangled the whole thing was.
“Lau’s being taken into custody now,” Jim told him with a nod. “Montoya and Bullock went to get him.”
“They’ll need backup,” Bruce agreed. “I can catch up with them.”
“I need to…” Harvey started and stopped abruptly when Bruce turned to him, his stance not changing one bit but somehow indicating giving Harvey his full and undivided attention. It was something, Jim thought, to have that darkened stare fixed on you; it still felt strange to Jim and he knew who it was underneath the mask.
“It can wait,” Bruce said firmly, only the slight nod of the cowl indicating the hesitance. “You’ll have your answers soon.”
Well, Jim thought, so the decision had been made. He felt relieved, somehow, and yet incredibly uneasy about it, but he wasn’t the most unbiased person around here.
“Does it mean what I think it means?” Harvey asked lightly, turning to Jim, and when he glanced back, Bruce was gone. “Does he do that often?”
Jim snorted. “Sometimes.”
It didn’t take Bullock and Montoya long to come back with Lau, but Rachel showed up few minutes ahead of them and Jim was pretty sure who notified her of the upcoming arrest. Sometimes, he thought, Bruce was like a newscast himself.
She kissed Harvey hello and then looked at Jim with a pointed look before marching out of the office, apparently expecting Jim to follow. Harvey shrugged. “Better do what she says. Well, what she indicates with a glare anyway.”
“Restroom, Rachel? Really?” he asked dryly as she spent a moment looking into the cubicles, checking if they were alone. “This thing of yours is beginning to reach dangerous proportions. And a men’s restroom to boot.”
She shrugged at that. “Well, you wouldn’t follow me to the ladies’ room.”
Damn right he wouldn’t. “And why exactly am I following you into any restrooms at all?”
“Because Harvey’s in your office,” she said matter-of-factly. Well, there was that. “So, how did it go? He’s not shell-shocked, so Bruce didn’t spill the beans, I gather.”
“He’s considering it, I think,” Jim shrugged. “But he has a lot going on at the moment.”
“I could find a way to lighten his load,” Rachel said pointedly. “He could give up that insane idea of throwing me that engagement party.”
“Wouldn’t count on that. I think it’s his way of processing.”
“Yeah, thought so,” she muttered, leaning against the sink, her lips twisting as her smile gave way to seriousness. “And how are you doing?”
“With your engagement? I’m strangely fine with it,” he said, probably overdoing with the sarcasm but, well, it was Rachel and she was kind of asking for that one.
“That’s the spirit,” she deadpanned. “No, with Bruce. You said sulking and it can’t be easy…”
“I’m fine,” he interrupted her. “And so is Bruce, to be honest. It’s just, damn, Rachel, when did I start to discuss my goddamn feelings in a restroom of all places?”
She waves her hand dismissively. “You were saying?”
“I said brooding, not sulking,” he pointed out, one last thing before he gave in and nodded. “I think Bruce wonders often, maybe too often, what would his parents think of his life, if they survived. What would they want for him. That they would love you as a daughter in law and that a career of a masked vigilante wasn’t exactly something they envisioned. And they certainly didn’t envision a middle-aged harried cop.”
Rachel nodded slowly, then moved and punched him on the shoulder. “You can be a real idiot, Jim.”
“I knew that,” he agreed.
“Did it feel good to say it all out loud?”
Well, to be honest, yes. “Somewhat.”
“We should rejoin the others, then. They should be back by now and I can’t wait to get a crack at Lau. And you can try and convince Bruce to give up the party idea. Come on, I know you don’t want to attend it anyway.”
“Maybe, but at least I can make excuses; I won’t be the guest of honour.”
“Damn,” she laughed.
Montoya gave them a strange look when they joined everyone in Jim’s office, but this was probably due to the bathroom part.
“Hey, boss. We have a gift for you in the interrogation.”
“How did it go?”
“Surprisingly easy,” she said, frowning. “For someone who invests so much in security, Lau didn’t have much of the goons with him. They were all in the back alley, apparently had happened to walk into doors a lot. Curious.”
No one could say Bruce methods weren’t successful. And while Jim sometimes wished Bruce could leave the smaller stuff to the police, whose duty it actually was, he couldn’t argue with wanting to keep his officers safer.
“How do you want to do this?” he turned questioningly to Harvey, who shrugged.
“Lady’s choice,” he said and Rachel smiled winningly.
“See, why can’t we implement this approach?” Montoya wanted to know.