Nobody ever said it was going to be easy. She knew it from the get go. She walked in with both eyes open. With no illusions. Not a day does she look back and regret the decision. There's been a fair share of rough spots along the way. They happen. Life happens. She forces herself to learn. It's the only way it'll work. Regardless, there are aspects she'll never get used to. Not knowing what to expect. Not knowing when the night will end and the day will begin. The never ending shifts in schedule. The danger.
She often wonders if they're living on borrowed time.
Daria wraps her arms around her legs and rests her chin. If she has to sit on the couch for hours, she'll do it. Tonight, she's waiting up.
Renee Montoya is stalled on the steps outside.
It's been close to fifteen years since she's been inside. She can't remember now why she came. In a minute, she'll retreat. She can't bring herself to do it just yet. The church is a fixture of her childhood, a house of memories as well as worship. The present and the past collide and inside her brews a storm of discordant feelings. Belonging. Disappointment. Anger. Resignation.
She shakes her head.
Life and work are waiting elsewhere. She turns her back on the house of God. Not the first time in her life. Definitely not the last.
I oughta have my head examined.
What am I doing?
I've been in a couple times. Always to buy. Never to talk. We always end up talking about the same things. Fighting the same arguments. Swear to God he sounds like a broken record sometimes.
There's a customer going out as I'm comin' in. We pass each other in the doorway. Papi's still working the register. After a minute, he looks up.
We stare at each other from across the shop.
"Yah. I know. I'm early," I finally say. The only thing worse than the same old fight is the silence. I hold out the flowers. My peace offering.
He stares at me some more before rounding the counter. He leans into it and crosses his arms.
Oh shit, here it comes.
"Learn to use the phone," he says sharply.
Can I call it or what?
His posture relaxes entirely. "Or stop by more often. Your mother misses your sweet voice."
What - ?
He steps forward to take the flowers and opens up his arms for a hug.
The last time he hugged me was -
I can't remember.
I'm there. In a heartbeat.
"Happy Father's Day, Papi."
If they're lucky...
She runs a hand over her face as she steps into the bedroom. The lights are out, leaving her to maneuver by memory. She makes it to the bathroom without waking her partner. For once, she'd like to make it back before Dee hits the sack. Working opposite schedules is starting to take its toll.
Tomorrow she leaves for Bludhaven. The person that matters most to her won't know until she's already gone.
Which makes this funny. It's Dee's birthday. I got the day off. She didn't. So what am I doing? I'm baking her a cake. She's the cook! I'm lucky if I can boil water. The microwave is your friend. Use it often. Use it liberally.
I had to find a recipe. Do you have any idea how hard that was? She's got close to a hundred cookbooks. And they all said something different.
Shopping. No problem. Pappa hooked me up. Got out before the conversation turned sour. Still put me about half an hour behind.
So here I am. Cups and measuring spoons spread out on the counter. Gunna follow this thing step by step. Pouring the flour.
And I'm wearing it.
Even from the kitchen, I can hear the front door open. My eyes go from the utensils to the bowl to the stove to the apron. Oh hell no. What a mess...
"Renee? Hey baby! I'm home!"
The icing on the cake? I'm not fast enough to hide it all. When she rounds the corner, I'm running around like a chicken with its head cut off.
I stop. She stops.
"Happy birthday, Dee," I finally manage.
She smiles and starts to cry.
( She's finishing her second box. )
She sits down on the couch in her apartment and picks up the remote. The television flashes to life. The scene depicts a crowd of pressing journalists. In the center is Dent.
"--did Eddie say to you during the tussle?" The question is followed by clicks and snaps from the surrounding cameras.
She shakes her head in disbelief.
"Nothing of any consequence, just like most everything else he says..."
A finger descends towards the power button.
"Mr. Dent, how does it feel to be a hero?"
She stops. A hero? This I gotta hear.
"Well, I'm not going to start prancing around in a cape, if that's what you mean."
The remote plops down on the cushions next to her. She sits for a minute longer, just staring. A shuffling sound comes from the rear. She looks up over her shoulder to see Daria, wiping at bleary eyes.
"Hey baby. It's late. You coming to bed?"
A pause hangs between them.
"Na... I got some things to work out, Dee."
It's not the words but the tone. Daria's heard it before. Can't still the body while the mind is at work. She shuffles back to a lonely bed.
Renee's still sitting on the couch when the sun rises in the morning.
From out of the bar, she stumbles. Snow hits her skin. That fuzzy warm feeling begins to fade. She remembers why she crawled into the bar in the first place. Her fatigue evaporates. Her rage mounts. As if with another person's ears, she hears herself scream his name in the echoing streets. "Corrigan. CORRIGAN!!!"
The trip to his apartment is a blur. She's suddenly in front of his door with no recollection of how she arrived. Next thing she knows... Her sidearm is in hand. The door splinters. Breaks. The flimsy chain snaps. She barrels through into Corrigan's place.
A detached voice registers in her mind. Breaking and Entering.
There's a woman rushing towards her. Butt of the gun to the temple. There's a spray of blood. A cry of pain. She slumps to the floor.
The voice returns. Assault with a deadly weapon.
Corrigan is retreating into the kitchen. He shakes with fear and fumbles for the nearest possible weapon. Into his hand, he pulls a carving knife from the butcher's block.
That's right. Make it worth my while.
"You gonna take it like a man, Jimmy? Or do I shoot you in the back, like you shot Cris?"
He cowers, slides onto the floor holding his head. The knife has dropped from his grasp. She steps forward and places the gun to his forehead. Her finger moves purposefully from the slide to the trigger.
Another voice replaces the monotone in her detached reality. "Don't. If he goes down, he'll take you with him. Don't go there, Renee."
Fuck you, Cris. Fuck you.
She stares down into Corrigan's pleading eyes.
She lowers the gun and walks away. In her wake, she leaves a sniveling man and a bloodied woman. They'll live to see another day.
[Author's Note: Scenario is taken directly from "Gotham Central". All of Renee's quoted dialog is taken verbatim. Writer: Greg Rucka.]
That's what I've gotta face. My life has taken a turn they don't like. My life's taken a couple turns they don't like. They come around though. Just gunna take time. Always does. Can't do anything else though. My life... My parents. I want 'um both.
Dee's here. She drove me over. "You want me to stay, Renee?"
"No. It's gunna take more than just a couple minutes." I get out of the car and walk across the street.
She's still waiting when I'm done.
We have a system. It works. But it only works when we do our jobs. Corrigan ... *Shakes head.* What the hell were you thinking? If it's all about the money to you, do us a favor and find yourself a new profession. We don't need assholes like you making it any harder than it already is.
( You gonna come clean? )
"I've lost count of how many times he's saved my life, Cris. You don't understand, you didn't grow up here. I'm a cop because of that signal, you get it? I remember when they first switched it on. I was maybe seventeen, I was in my bedroom at my parents' apartment, it was late. I was trying to do homework, but I couldn't concentrate. There'd been this story in the news, how the water supply had been poisoned. Everyone in the city was scared. I looked out my window."