The Dark Knight Rises: Part of the Night: The Wayne Legacy

Chapter Fourteen

"I've studied your career, Commissioner Gordon." Agent Nigma perched on the edge of the leather sofa in Gordon's borrowed City Hall office. "You were a detective before you were promoted. You're not a politician; you know how it feels to solve a mystery."

Gordon chocked back his sigh. Working with the FBI was bad enough, but this wasn't work. He gave Nigma this appointment because the agent had helped the resistance when others hid, and he wished the agent would get to the point.

"Don't you want to know who he was? Doesn't the city deserve to know who saved them?"

"They know. It was the Batman."

Nigma's lips twisted. "What about Catwoman and Nightwing? You trust the lives of your men to them?"

Gordon smirked. "Nightwing works better with the police than Batman did. I'm not about to rip his mask off and ruin that. And no one has seen Catwoman since the War for Gotham."

"She beat that child molester after."

"And no one has seen her since," Gordon repeated. "I think she's earned her retirement."

Nigma leaned forward. "What about the rumor in Blackgate? That Bane had Batman and Catwoman prisoner during the Occupation?"

"Criminals need an explanation just like you do." Nigma sat up, but someone knocked on the office door. "Come in," Gordon said.

Montoya stuck her head inside. "Ms. Kyle is here to see you."

Nigma jumped to his feet. "I'd rather not give her a reason to feed me to Waller. I wasn't here about her at all. Is there another way out?"

Gordon was tempted to point to the boarded up window, but Montoya spoke up. "They're at the elevators. She brought Stephanie with her. Stairs are that way." The officer pointed down the hallway that turned the corner.

The FBI agent scurried that way while Gordon blocked the hallway. He didn't know or care what was going on between Nigma and Selina or who this Waller person was. Montoya shook her head and headed back to the elevators. "This way, Ms. Kyle."

Selina walked down the hall with her agitation barely contained by her skin. She paused to look at Montoya. "Could you?" Her head jerked down.

Montoya smiled at Stephanie. "I need your help, Stephanie. We got coloring books, but I don't know if they are any good."

"I'll check them out. Is that okay?" The little girl looked up at Selina.

Selina gave her a watery smile. "That's fine. I'll be down here with the Commissioner, in the same office they kept Fox in." They separated and Gordon ushered the distracted Selina into his office. "Sorry to interrupt your working hours, but you should make Montoya a detective. She's better than a mere secretary."

"There's a volunteer pool while we work out personnel issues." Gordon shut the door. "She's on my short list. What's wrong?"

She paced the office. "I need to talk wedding shit with somebody and I realized I don't have anyone to talk it over with!"

"Nobody else? I thought your doctor was a friend."

"She picked Alfred's side, Bruce stormed out, and it's all my fault!" She burst into sobs and sank into a seat on the sofa.

Gordon's moustache twitched. He always set off Barbara any time he tried to cook while she was pregnant. He found a box of Kleenex in the attached bathroom, handed it to her, and moved the trash can within her reach. He sat on the other end of the sofa and waited until she wound down before asking, "Alfred's side?"

She dried her eyes and threw away another Kleenex. "Alfred wants a big society wedding at the Manor and that upsets Bruce. He said it was more appropriate to have the ceremony next to the Batsignal."

"That won't work. There's no way to keep the paparazzi out of the taller buildings." Selina chuckled through her tears. "What kind of wedding do you want?"

"I never thought about a wedding or a baby. Just not part of the life I lived. Now I have him and Stephanie and a baby coming." She twisted the wire ring on her left hand. "And he has me. All we need is the stupid license. The only thing I've managed to think of is driving to Atlantic City or flying out to Vegas to get it over with. But I haven't said anything out loud because Alfred will kill us both."

"So Alfred and Bruce fighting is your fault because you aren't a bridezilla?"

The tears welled up again. "Bruce stayed because of me. I told them Bruce Wayne had a baby and they couldn't wait to crown it prince or princess of Gotham. He wanted to leave with me." She blotted her face. "And now I can't stop crying. This isn't me!"

"Pregnancy hormones. You won't feel normal until the baby's about a year old," he explained.

"Shit, make me feel better now."

"You know as well as I do that no one makes Bruce do what he doesn't want to do, and Alfred probably knows better than both of us. You two need to talk about the wedding you want and send out invitations already. The rest of us have lives too. My daughter is moving back to Gotham at the end of the month. It'd save me trouble finding a date."

Selina chuckled again before blowing her nose. She dropped that Kleenex into the trash can and pulled another one out of the box.

"But you need to talk to him about it, not through Alfred."

Another knock on his office door, but this one didn't wait for a greeting. Bruce Wayne opened it with a green folder in his hand. "Commissioner, I have the contract for your review... Selina? What's wrong? Did something happen?" He dropped the folder on the desk as he crossed the office.

Selina waved the Kleenex before tossing it. "Hormonal leaking. I'm fine, Stephanie's fine."

He didn't look convinced as he reached the sofa. Gordon moved out of their way and went to his borrowed desk. "You two run along. I have to concentrate on police work now."

"Thanks, Jim, for putting up with me." Selina waved as Bruce ushered her out. Gordon's moustache twitched again as he looked at his reports.

They stopped at Saint Mary's Park and sent Stephanie to explore a new playground while they sat on a nearby bench. Selina wished she had gotten some water at City Hall.

Bruce set his briefcase between his feet before he shifted to look at her. "So why unleash your hormonal leaking on Gordon?"

"You left first, and I didn't want to give Alfred and Leslie the wrong idea that I'm upset over the wedding stuff. But I couldn't stop the tears."

"Alfred is worried that we won't follow through and he's old-fashioned."

"So we're living in sin?"

"And happy with it. He knows I don't care if the society hags find fault with anything I do, but I do care what he thinks. He hasn't started nagging you, has he?"

Selina shook her head. "No, not nagging. He wants my opinion because you won't plan anything, and I don't have one to give him."

Bruce chuckled. "I thought all I had to do was show up and do what I was told because Alfred and Rachel would have it all planned out. Now Alfred is acting like I have decisions to make."

She didn't feel threatened by Bruce's admission that he wanted Rachel as his wife. That was then and this is now. "I don't have any ideas, and you don't have any ideas. Alfred may consider it nice not to plan it for us, but all it is doing is making Vegas look better and better."

"We can't, Alfred will kill us."

Stephanie ran from the slide and Bruce caught her before she rammed his knees. "Hi," she said.

"Hi, you need something?" Selina asked.

She looked at Bruce, who had a small smile interrupting his serious expression. "You forgot to kiss Selina before you went to work. Are you mad?"

"I had to go sign papers at work. We're not fighting." Bruce leaned over and kissed Selina. "Sorry about that."

"Don't forget again," Stephanie warned before running to the monkey bars.

Bruce's smile widened. "So what did Gordon have to say?"

"The Batsignal is out. The paparazzi will surround us."

"True. I was more worried about the paperwork than the wedding when I suggested that. I wasn't trying to leave it all on you." He opened his briefcase and pulled out a checkbook with folded papers tucked into it. He handed it to her. "I took the liberty of opening a checking account for you."

"I would have gotten around to it eventually." She opened the checkbook and her jaw dropped at all the zeroes on the deposit slip. "Bruce!"

"Your twenty-five percent finder's fee. No point on negotiating on the belongings; it will all be community property soon."

"But I didn't earn it."

"I wouldn't be alive if it wasn't for you. You have earned it." He closed the checkbook in her hands. "Besides, I don't want you to have to come to me for money all the time."

She took a deep breath to restart her insides from the shock. "That will keep your gifts a surprise longer." She tucked the bank stuff into her coat pocket with her wallet. "Speaking of, is there anything special you want for your birthday?"

"You don't have to get me anything. Being free of medical directives will be gift enough. When is your birthday?"

"February fifth, and I want breakfast at the Carlyle if it's reopened."

"I like that idea." Bruce leaned over and kissed her again. "And this is what else I had to go sign." He handed her a blue folder.

She read the first page and laughed. "You bought Daggett Industries?"

"I made Daggett's cousin Roland an offer yesterday. He didn't want to leave the West Coast or move it there, and accepted my deal." He pulled a set of keys from his coat pocket. "Do you want to see what I bought?"

"Sure, I never got to see his offices. Stephanie! What are you and Lucius going to do with it?"

"Lucius has his hands full with Wayne Enterprises." He took back the folder as Stephanie grabbed Selina's hand. "This company is mine and the crews will start repairing my properties as soon as they're hired." He unlocked the SUV.

Selina locked the seat belt around Stephanie and her car seat. "We need to get some lunch."

"We can eat and drop Stephanie off at the penthouse."

"You want to leave me with Alfred?" Stephanie pouted.

"We're not doing anything fun," Selina said as she twisted to look at the girl in the back seat.

"Don't want to stay with Alfred." She crossed her arms.

"Okay, we'll eat at the cafeteria at Wayne Enterprises." Bruce called Alfred and told him they'd be back in time for supper.

Daggett Industries rented the top six floors of a skyscraper on East Twentieth Street within sight of Wayne Tower. How that must have irked Daggett, Selina thought as they rode up the elevator. The doors slid open onto a wrecked lobby. The waiting chairs had beaten the receptionist desk and battered the walls. One teetered in the sheet rock between the lobby and another office. Spray paint graffiti altered Daggett's logo with words Selina was glad Stephanie couldn't read yet. "I think you're better off letting the lease go," Selina offered.

"Daggett was already dead; why would Bane's men destroy his offices?" He stared at the mess like it would reset as he turned.

Selina pointed to the profanity-laced graffiti that told Daggett to 'burn in hell, Boss.' "Daggett left behind a lot of disgruntled employees."

"Now they're mine until I terminate them."

"What does that mean?" Stephanie asked.

"They wouldn't work for me any longer and can go find a new job," Bruce answered. "We need to find the personnel files. They aren't safe here. I'll start at the top." He got back in the elevator.

Selina smirked. He so wanted to see if Daggett had left anything incriminating behind. If he had asked, she would have told him Daggett's plotting was done from his penthouse apartment. She pulled the chair out of the receptionist's desk and set the pieces out of the way. She found the office directory inside the dented metal drawer. "H.R. is two stories up."

Stephanie ran back to the elevator and hit the up button. "Got it."

"Good job." Selina joined her inside it. The empty lobby on the third floor of Daggett Industries hadn't been wrecked. Selina opened the door labeled 'Human Resources.'

Cubicle walls were knocked over into the aisles. Computer wires dangled from desks no longer connected to the missing computers. "Wow, they made a mess everywhere," Stephanie said.

"Yes, this is why I tell you to pick up your toys." Selina turned around. The sheet rock walls jutted out into the open space of the floor beside the elevator bank. "Let's head that way."

Only two cubicle walls were knocked down in the aisle against the wall. Selina picked them up and propped them out of the way. The door they reached was labeled 'File Room.' Stephanie grabbed the handle. "Locked. We need Bruce's keys."

"Please. I can pick a pin and tumbler lock in my sleep. It'd be easier if I had brought my lock picks." Selina stepped into the first open cubicle and searched. She found a large metal paperclip in a dumped-out cup on the desk. The second cubicle had a set of small screwdrivers in the drawer.

"Show me?" Stephanie asked. She focused on what Selina did, and Selina slowed down and explained what she was doing and why.

Bruce found them before she lifted the last pin. "You could've just asked for the key."

"But I wouldn't see how," Stephanie said.

"You're teaching her how to pick a lock?"

The pin gave way and Selina turned the lock with the flat screwdriver. "She asked and it's not a bad skill to know." She stood and tucked the makeshift tools into her jeans pocket.

"It's okay," Stephanie said. "You can show me how to fight like you do Uncle John." She pushed the file room door open wider.

Selina whirled to face Bruce and he raised his hands against her glare. "We're not sparring. I'm just demonstrating moves for him to practice." He reached around her and turned on the lights.

She took a deep breath, trusted that he wasn't endangering his health, and followed him inside. The file room had floor-to-ceiling filing racks that moved on a track. Nearly every shelf was full of folders. "How are we going to take all these?"

"They left us some boxes." Bruce pointed to the shrink-wrapped, collapsed boxes in the corner as he pulled out his cell phone. "Alfred, we need supplies."

She opened and folded the first box while he instructed Alfred to send Blake with a dolly and more boxes. "Have you ever done this before? Hire and fire people?"

He opened the first rack and reached for the top shelf folders. "I hired Lucius. But I fired William Earle over the phone, running late to the meeting." He handed her a stack of folders. "You should have Lucius tell you the story. The way he describes the look on Earle's face is hysterical."

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