Jim didn’t think he could take another night of staring at the empty hallways displayed on the twelve security monitors in front of him. To say the night shift was dull would be an understatement. If it weren’t for the occasional screams, moans, and growls from the inmates, he’d probably fall asleep on the job. He’d only been on duty for ten minutes, and he already wanted a break. He turned to his new ‘partner’, Casey, and said, “I’m gonna get a cup of coffee. You want one?”
The young man looked up from his cell phone long enough to say, “No thanks, I can’t drink that stuff straight. I’ll have a soda later.”
Jim forced a fake smile on his face, and just barely refrained from asking the kid if his parents knew he was up this late. He knew Casey didn’t deserve the sarcasm, simply because Jim was unhappy with his current situation. Casey was a decent kid, but he’d never make a good cop. Jim kept that to himself as well, since he had to work with the boy for the next ten hours.
Jim stood, stretched, and took his time walking to the break room to get some coffee. While stirring sugar into the bitter lukewarm beverage, he thought about the events that had led him to this low point in his career. He knew that if he’d done some things differently, he wouldn’t be here, but he also knew that he’d always done the right
thing, which meant he could still face himself in the mirror. Even if that mirror was in Arkham.
He meandered back to his station, not really looking forward to another long night of looking at cold case files and checking the monitors periodically, while listening to his ‘partner’ text his friends.
He opened the door to the surveillance room, and said, “Hey Casey, if you….” He looked around the empty room. “Casey?”
Jim immediately went on high alert. The kid was young, but he doubted Casey would leave his post before his partner got back unless something was truly wrong. Jim frantically scanned all the monitors, and saw nothing out of place. He set his coffee down, got out his gun, and went to check the officer’s bathroom.
He silently made his way to the bathroom, checking for anything suspicious on the way. Instead of walking in, he knocked on the door and said, “Casey?”
The muffled sound of a struggle came through the door, so he went in gun first. There were two men holding Casey in place, while a third had a gun pointed at the young man’s head. They’d obviously roughed the kid up some, but he was still conscious. Jim automatically aimed at the man with the gun.
“Behind you,” Casey said.
Before Jim could turn, he felt the tip of a gun on the back of his head, and heard the gun being cocked. A familiar voice said, “I’m going to need you to hand over your gun for a few minutes, and then we can all have a civilized conversation.”
Jim slowly put his hands up, and his gun was taken from him. He turned to see Oswald Cobblepot smiling at him.
“Hello James. I have a favor to ask you.”
“Favor? This isn’t a very friendly way to ask.”
“Sorry about that. I needed some leverage to make sure you’d listen to me.” Oswald said with an apologetic smile. He motioned for his thug to lower the gun he had pointed at Casey’s head. “Better?”
Jim nodded, crossed his arms, and said, “Okay, let’s hear it.”
“Not here.” Oswald made eye contact with the henchman holding a gun, and said, “If I’m not back in half an hour, knock out the guard, call reinforcements, and come find me.” Once the middle aged man nodded, Oswald used Jim’s gun to point towards the door. “We can talk privately in the surveillance room.”
Making eye contact with Casey, Jim said, “Don’t do anything stupid to get yourself killed while I’m gone. No heroics.”
“I wasn’t planning on it,” Casey muttered.
Jim nodded and walked towards the surveillance room without protest. He knew he had a better shot at defusing the situation, or overpowering Oswald if they were alone.
Oswald gestured to one of the chairs in front of the monitors, and once Jim sat down, he sat down as well. He stuck Jim’s gun in the jacket pocket of his suit, and kept his own gun pointed in Jim’s direction. “You know a war is coming. A war between the people who want to run Gotham will mean hundreds of civilian casualties. What if I told you I could stop the war before it even started?”
“If I believed it was possible, I’d be interested.”
“The only thing I need to stop the war, is one of your prisoners. His name is Mick Flanagan.” Oswald reached into his jacket pocket, and pulled out a folded piece of paper. He held it up for Jim to see, and said, “You’re the only honest man left in Gotham, James. The fact that you refused to kill me proves that. I wouldn’t give this information to anyone else in this city.” He handed the paper to Jim.
Playing along, Jim took it, and started reading the document. His eyes opened wide with shock, and he had to reread the whole thing again to make sure he’d read it right. According to the police report, when Fish was sixteen she was arrested for involuntary manslaughter because she hit a pedestrian with her car. The charge was later dropped when Mick Flanagan confessed that he’d been the one driving, and claimed that Fish was only a passenger. Jim doubted that Mick’s ‘confession’ had been made voluntarily after seeing the black eye and split lip in his mug shot.
Jim looked over at Oswald and said, “Is this true?”
Oswald leaned forward, and said, “It’s true. Guess how old Fish was when she met Falcone.”
With a nod, Oswald said, “Guess who the pedestrian was.”
“Someone Fish wanted dead?” Jim said.
“Jeez.” Jim shook his head. “So why Mick? Who was he to Falcone?”
“He wasn’t anyone to Falcone. Mick was Fish’s stepfather at the time.”
“Her stepfather?” Jim muttered, looking at the paperwork again.
Oswald knew he had Jim on the hook, and tried to reel him in. “This poor man, Mick, was set up to take the fall for something he didn’t do. You have an innocent man locked up in this place. He’d only been married to Fish’s mom for six months before this happened, and before that he’d proudly served his country in the armed forces.” He decided to leave out the fact that the man had been a sniper who was dishonorably discharged, and that he’d killed six other prisoners during his incarceration before getting sent to Arkham.
Jim scowled. “That’s horrible, but I don’t see how giving him to you is going to stop the war between the crime lords. If anything, letting Mick out will incite war.”
Oswald could honestly shake his head. “No it won’t.” He didn’t share his belief that Fish and Falcone would both be dead, before the war even started. Instead he said, “When Fish hears that Mick is out of prison, she’ll be forced to keep the peace between her and Falcone, because she’ll need his protection. Or at least she’ll believe that she needs his protection, but really Mick will be on a train to the other side of the country to start a new life.”
“And I’m just supposed to take your word on that?” Jim scoffed. “Because that worked out so well for me when you promised to stay hidden, and then showed up at the police station in broad daylight.”
“No, you’ve got it all wrong.” Oswald said with as much sincerity as he could muster. “I would have stayed hidden, but I heard they were going to arrest you for my murder. I couldn’t let that happen.”
Jim rolled his eyes, and brought the conversation back to the point. “Now that I know who this Mick is, I’ll look at his records, and I’ll work on getting him out legally, but there’s no way I’d just give him to you. I’m not going to risk what’s left of my career by letting an inmate go, and I’d need to do a lot more investigating before I could even say if that was the morally right choice.”
Frowning, Oswald said, “I’ve seen the way this place runs. No one would notice for days if one of the inmates went missing.”
“We’re done talking about this, Cobblepot,” Jim said with finality. “Unless you’re willing and able to kill every guard in here, including me, you’re not getting him. Just go home, before you get yourself on the most wanted list.”
Oswald scowled. “Who said anything about killing guards? I’m offended that you think I’m capable of that, James. I’m not here to kill anyone.” With a small apologetic smile, Oswald said, “But I’m afraid that young officer in the bathroom might not ever be able to walk again by the time my men are done with him. If Mick doesn’t get released, that is.”
Changing tactics, Jim asked, “Are you doing this for Maroni?” He saw a minute flash of surprise on Oswald’s face before a forced a smile appeared.
“Of course I am,” Oswald said. “War is bad for…”
“No you’re not,” Jim interrupted. “You should know that you can’t do something like this without word getting back to him.”
Shaking his head, Oswald said, “Maroni does
know what I’m doing, but even if he didn’t, he’d be glad I…”
“Stop!” Jim barked. “Stop lying to me. I risked my life by letting you live.” He jabbed a finger in the other man’s direction while making his point. “The least you could do is tell me the truth.”
Taken slightly aback by Jim’s tone, Oswald paused, swallowed once, and broke eye contact. Those words had caused an unpleasant feeling in the pit of his stomach. Against his better judgement, the truth started spilling out while he glared at the floor. “Fine. Maroni doesn’t know, because this is personal. I do think getting Mick out will stop the war, but it will also get me some revenge, because it will terrify Fish.” He looked Jim in the eye and said, “She deserves it. She didn’t appreciate me the way she should have. She called me her son, trained me to be a valued member of the team, but then after one mistake, she turned her back on me. She beat me almost to death, and tried to have me killed.”
Jim nodded, leaned forward in his chair, and said, “That’s awful, and I understand why you’d want revenge, but you work for Maroni now. Do you honestly think he’s going to react any differently than Fish if you make a mistake? What do you think he’s going to have to say about this when he finds out?”
Oswald started considering that possibility, and didn’t like the scenarios that started playing out in his head. He’d been so focused on scenarios involving Fish, that he’d talked himself into believing he could keep Maroni from finding out. He stood up and stared to pace around the room nervously.
Jim saw his opportunity, and rushed Oswald while he was distracted. Jim took them both to the ground, and Oswald yelped in surprise. Jim grabbed the gun out of the other man’s hand, and had Oswald’s hands cuffed behind his back within seconds.
A desperate whiney growl came out of Oswald’s throat when he realized he’d been subdued.
Jim shoved Oswald’s gun in the back of his uniform pants, stood up, and said, “Get up,” as he helped Oswald to his feet. Jim dug his own gun out of Oswald’s jacket pocket, and put it back in his holster.
Oswald immediately knew he’d lost, and desperately tried to minimize the damage. He said, “I’m sorry.”
“You’re sorry?” Jim asked, raising an eyebrow.
“This hasn’t been my finest hour, and I’m sorry I involved you in it. I let my desire for revenge override my better judgement. You’re right. Maroni would find out if I’d gone through with it, and he wouldn’t be forgiving. I don’t know what I was thinking. If you could see it in your heart to let me go, I’ll leave, and I’ll never come back.”
“It’s too late for that. I can’t decide if I should turn you over to the police, or if I should call Maroni.”
“No please don’t. Please let’s just keep this between us. I swear I won’t tell anyone about what happened here tonight, and I won’t tell a soul the things I know about Mick.”
“You say that, but I can’t trust you to keep your word.”
“You can…” Oswald could see the disbelief on Jim’s face, and changed tactics. “Well, maybe you can’t, but I’m sure we could work something else out. Fish’s methods were always less than pleasant, but she got her point across. If it would help ease your conscience, I’m sure a few well placed punches would ensure that I’ve learned my lesson.” Jim opened his mouth to speak, but Oswald beat him to it, “Just not the face please, or kidneys, or the damaged leg.”
“Because that method worked so well for Fish?” Jim said. “No. Beating people up isn’t part of police work.” Oswald raised an eyebrow, and Jim added, “It’s not part of police work when I’m the one doing it. The problem is that your word is no good. You’ve proven yourself untrustworthy, and disloyal to everyone you’ve worked for.”
Oswald was completely offended by that statement, but he also felt an uncomfortable semblance of shame, because it was true. The only person he’d always been truly loyal to was himself. “Disloyal is a strong term, but if that’s how you feel, then call Maroni.”
Jim crossed his arms, tried to decide what to do. He noted that the other man was now pouting like a child, and an idea popped into his head. He tried dismissing it, but the more he thought it over, the more solidified the idea became. He shook his head, unable to believe he was considering such an unusual plan of action, but Jim’s gut told him that Oswald was savable, unlike so many other criminals.
“I’m not going to call Maroni,” Jim said.
“Please don’t call the cops,” Oswald begged. “If Maroni finds out through them, that’ll be worse.”
“I’m not calling the cops either.”
“You’re not?” Oswald said, perking up at the thought that he was going to get out of this mess without a scratch.
“No. I’m going to try something different. Something I’ve never tried before, because I think you’re worthy of a second chance.” Oswald couldn’t help but feel pleased by that assessment from Jim. The older man continued, “I was assigned to kill you, but I didn’t. Any other cop on the force would have.”
“Yes, and I’m grateful for that. Truly.”
“And now I have to wonder if I’m partially responsible for everything you’ve done since that point in time.” Jim looked the other man up and down once, thinking that over.
“That seems a bit egotistical,” Oswald said carefully, trying not to provoke the detective. “I’m my own man, responsible for my own actions.”
“I disagree. Yes you’re a man with free will, and yes you make your own decisions, but because I changed the course of your life in that moment, I think I’m obligated to help guide you onto a better path.” Jim checked his watch to see how much time Casey still had. Twenty minutes was plenty of time. He walked over to the surveillance room door, locked it, and went back to Oswald. He put a hand on the other man’s upper arm, looked the slightly shorter man in the eye and said, “I plan to drag you kicking and screaming to the right side of the law.”
Oswald’s eyes were wide with fear. He stuttered out, “S… screaming? What happened to not beating people up?”
Jim frowned and said, “It’s a figure of speech. I’m not going to actually make you scream. I’m going to give you the same punishment my father gave me when I messed up.” When he got nothing but a look of confusion from Oswald, Jim said, “I’m going to spank you.”
Oswald shook his head and tried to take a step back, but Jim kept a firm grip on him. Jim sat back down in his chair, and pulled the other man facedown across his lap in one swift move. Oswald let out a surprised grunt, involuntarily wrenched his wrists on the handcuffs when he tried to catch himself, and fell safely on Jim’s thighs.
Jim wrapped his arm around the other man’s back and arms, trapping him in place, and smacked Oswald’s rear end with the flat of his hand.
Oswald couldn’t believe this was actually happening to him. He’d never been spanked in his entire life. His father had left when he was young, and his mother had been the doting sort, who made excuses for his bad behavior rather than punishing him for it. A few slaps later, once the shock of what was happening wore off, he realized it hurt
. He tried to come up with a convincing argument to make Jim let him up, but found the repeated smacks made it impossible to think coherently.
After a particularly harsh smack, he blurted out, “How is this any different than beating me up!”
Jim kept up a steady tempo of swats and said, “This won’t cause you any real physical damage. It’ll hurt, but it’s not going to leave you with internal bleeding, broken bones, scars, or a permanent limp. I’m not doing this because I’m pissed, or to prove that I’m the one in charge. I’m doing it to help you become a better person.”
Oswald found himself temporarily speechless. His eyebrows furrowed in thought while he contemplated those words. If it were anyone other than Jim, he’d discard the words as a lie, but he knew the man meant every word he’d said. There had been plenty of people who’d physically hurt him in the past, but it had never been because someone was trying to help him. His normal response to getting hit was anger and thoughts of revenge, but because Jim was the one doing it, all he felt was an overwhelming sense of shame and embarrassment.
Jim had been spanking for almost a full minute, with a confusing lack of response from the prone man. He’d expected yelping and begging by now, even if it was mostly an act to get himself out of the situation, but Oswald hadn’t made a peep for the last thirty seconds. Because Jim honestly didn’t want to damage the other man, and because he did want this to be an effective incentive to change his behavior, he stopped spanking long enough to slip his hands under Oswald’s stomach, and undo the younger man’s slacks.
Startled out of his thoughts, Oswald said, “What are you doing?” He cringed at the high pitched tone of fear in his own voice.
“Taking these down,” Jim said as he tugged on the slacks. They slid down and settled at Oswald’s bent knees, exposing his black boxer briefs. “I need to see what I’m doing,” Jim said. “I want to leave an impression, not bruises, and so far you seem pretty unimpressed by the whole thing.” With those words, Jim pulled the other man’s briefs down in back just enough to expose his rear end, leaving the elastic waistband at the crease where butt met thigh.
“No! That’s not necessary,” Oswald whined. His face and neck turned beet red at the exposure. “You are
leaving an impression.” He twisted his torso and tried to roll off the other man’s lap.
Jim used both hands to keep Oswald in place, and then resituated the younger man further over his lap, so that his ass was further in the air, and his feet were off the floor. He started spanking again, with a bit more force now that he could tell the skin wasn’t bruised in the least.
“Ah!” The increased sting of the skin to skin contact made Oswald’s entire body tense with each hard slap.
“That’s more like it,” Jim muttered, and kept spanking.
Over the next few seconds, Oswald hissed, grunted, yelped, and twitched his way through the pain, and found himself increasingly desperate to make this torture stop. The relentless nature of the punishment, mixed with the humiliating position, and the shame of his own actions, made this experience more emotionally taxing than any of the beatings he’d had in the past. He found himself close to tears, which he would have thought impossible before this started.
“James… Jim, please! Please stop!” He begged, hoping the use of his preferred name would sway the man.
Instead of stopping, Jim said, “I want you to tell me why I’m doing this, and then if I think you’ve learned your lesson, I’ll stop.”
Oswald whined pitifully. Trying to think and talk while getting slapped on the ass seemed like an insurmountable task to him in the moment.
“Tell me what I want to hear and this can be over in a few seconds. Keep quiet, and we still have a good fifteen minutes before we have to be back for Casey,” Jim said calmly.
That snapped Oswald out of his silent self pity, and made him eager to try and end this as soon as possible. He shouted out the first thing that came to mind. “You’re doing it to help me!”
“That’s true, but I want you to tell me what you did to end up in this position. What did you do wrong?” Jim asked.
Nasty guilt churned in the younger man’s stomach, followed by humiliation when he felt his legs start jerking in time to the smacks. He yelled, “I broke in here, and had your partner roughed up… Ah!”
“That’s right,” Jim said, increasing his tempo. “What else?”
“I tried to blackmail you!”
“Yes you did, and I’m going to make sure you don’t do it again.” Jim started spanking even harder.
“Ow! Jim please stop!” He tried using the other man’s words to get him to stop. “I promise I’ve learned my lesson! Ow! I’ll never try to blackmail you again! Never!” His squirming became frantic as the pain grew, and he ended up shifting his body back to try and get his ass away from Jim’s hand.
Jim paused, pulled the younger man back across his lap, and got a better grip on him to keep him in place.
“Please!” Oswald begged.
With a touch of sympathy in his voice, Jim said, “Here’s the thing, Oswald. A man is only as good as his word, and you’ve broken promises and lied to me, so how am I supposed to believe you?”
Jim’s question, devoid of anger, was Oswald’s breaking point. Mortifying tears slid down his face, and he said, “I don’t know.”
“Well that’s why we’re doing this.” Jim said. “Once we’re done, I will believe you, and I’ll expect you to keep your word, and stay on the right side of the law, at least when you’re around me. But if you ever do something like this to me again, I’ll go straight to Maroni, or I’ll drag you to the police station myself.”
“Okay,” Oswald said, “I understand.” He sniffed and tried to wipe his face on his shoulder. He would have said anything Jim wanted to hear at this point, but he had to admit it felt good to hear that there would be some level of trust between them once this was done.
Pleased with that response, Jim said, “Thirty more, and we’re done.”
“Thirty?” Both men could clearly hear the trepidation in Oswald’s voice.
“Thirty.” Jim confirmed firmly. He tightened his grip, and started spanking again, counting in his head with each smack.
“Ah!” Oswald knew there was no point in begging through the last thirty, because Jim was
a man of his word, but after the first twelve he couldn’t stop himself. “Ow! Jim, please don’t! Ow! I’ve already learned my lesson! I promise!” More tears ran down his face, his legs kicked against his will, causing his slacks to slip down around his ankles. The sharp burning pain in his rear end only seemed to increase with every added slap. “Jim! I’m sorry! I swear I’m sorry!”
Jim put a little more power behind the last two slaps, turning the red bottom white for an instant before turning an even darker red.
Oswald yelped loudly with each of the last two smacks. His body continued to struggle against Jim’s hold for a second or two before he realized it was over. Once that realization hit, he slumped across Jim’s lap with relief, and tried not to start audibly crying.
Jim gave the other man a couple of seconds to get a hold of himself, and then said, “It’s done.” He looked over Oswald’s skin to assure himself that there wouldn’t be much in the way of bruising. The briefs had thankfully stayed in place, and now that it was over, he quickly slid them back up to cover the reddened skin. “I’m going to uncuff you, so you can get yourself up and dressed, okay?”
Sniffing loudly, Oswald nodded and got out the word, “Okay.”
Jim got the keys off his belt loop, and unlocked the cuffs.
When one hand was free, Oswald brought his arm around to wipe his face off, and groaned as his shoulder protested the movement. After being stuck behind his back for so long while he struggled, his shoulders were going to be sore for a while, but not as sore as his ass was. His rear end was going to hurt for days. Once both his hands were free, he slowly pushed himself up off Jim’s lap, trying not to moan in pain with each little movement. After he was standing, he leaned down with a hiss, got his slacks untangled from his shoes, and pulled them up. When his clothes were in place, he used both hands to wipe his face again, and then rubbed at his sore wrists to keep himself from rubbing at his even sorer butt.
Jim stood up, walked over to his workstation, and pulled a few tissues out of the box he kept there. He handed them to Oswald without a word, and then went to unlock the door.
After blowing his nose a couple of times, Oswald cleared his throat, and tried to keep his voice steady when he said, “What now?”
Jim walked back over to the younger man, who took a step back when Jim got close. With a sigh, Jim said, “I told you it’s over.” He gestured to the spot in front of him and said, “Come here.”
Oswald nervously stepped into the indicated spot. Jim nodded in approval, put a hand on the younger man’s shoulder, and gently squeezed it. “Now we start fresh. I’m going to try trusting you, and hopefully you’re going to prove that my trust isn’t misplaced.”
The kindness he saw in Jim’s face, and the friendly touch made Oswald want to cry all over again. He blinked a few times, cleared his throat, and said, “Okay.”
Jim took his hand off the other man’s shoulder, reached behind himself, and pulled Oswald’s gun out for him to see. Jim said, “I’m going to give this back to you.”
“You are?” Oswald said with disbelief.
With a self-deprecating smile Jim said, “I’ve been accused of being stubborn much more often than I’ve been accused of being smart.” He held the gun out for Oswald to take, and added, “It’s a show of good faith. Proof that I believed you when you said you’d learned your lesson.”
Oswald took the gun with a frown, trying to understand his own reaction to Jim’s trust. If Fish had handed him a gun after beating him up, he would have shot her without any second thoughts. But he had no desire to shoot Jim, even though he thought he should
want the man dead after what he’d just done. Instead Oswald found himself wanting the other man’s approval. He put the gun in his suit jacket, looked Jim in the eye, and said, “Thank you for believing me after… well, everything.”
“Thanks for not shooting me just now,” Jim said with a grin.
Oswald smiled in spite of his sore everything, and said, “No problem.”
“Okay, here’s the plan. We’re going to go back to the bathroom, you’re going to tell your men that the inmate you came for hung himself in his cell last week, and then you’re going to make them leave without hurting me or Casey. Once you’re gone, I’ll convince Casey to keep his mouth shut. Any questions?”
you convince Casey to keep his mouth shut?”
“Absolutely. He’s a kid, and he hates this job, but he doesn’t want to get fired. His pride won’t let him admit that he was caught off guard and overpowered by you and your men while he was busy texting. He’d much rather keep this quiet.”
“Alright, then lead the way.”
An hour later, Jim was looking through cold cases, and wondering if he’d actually helped to put Oswald on a better path.
Across town, Oswald was tying up loose ends by disposing of the bodies of the three henchmen he’d just killed. He had to stop every once in a while to rub at his sore ass, and swore to himself repeatedly that he’d never let Jim catch him breaking his word again.
Gotham pictures courtesy of Screencapped.net
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