The Dark Knight Rises: Part of the Night: The One Rule

Chapter Twenty-Five

Selina took a deep breath in the shadows behind City Hall. Her nerves rattled between jealousy, rationalization, and dread. She did not like Miranda Tate and doubted Miranda's motives for interacting with Bruce, positive that the woman's help was all done to get the ring on Selina's finger. But since Bruce put the ring on Selina's finger, his asking for Miranda's rescue meant she was in the category Bruce assigned to everyone he could: he wouldn't see them die if he could stop it. That thought gave way to certainty that the profit wasn't worth the risk and Selina should run. The sheer fact that she was this rattled about this job meant she should put it off.

But Bruce was counting on her. She tightened the climbing claws on her hands and grabbed hold of the concrete building. You are doing this, so plan for the best way in. Up to the roof and in through the vents. Miranda wouldn't be able to exit that way, but Selina brought the climbing rope for her. If she had never done any repelling, she was getting a lesson tonight.

Selina rolled onto the roof behind the massive climate control unit and froze. All the hair on her body stood up. She knew she wasn't alone. Her footfalls were silent as she looked around the corner of the machinery.

Bane stood at the northwest corner of the roof. His hands gripped his flack vest and he stared at the bat symbol made of fire on the tower of the Cavalry Bridge. Her distraction was working as promised, but why the fuck wasn't he watching it from inside!

The rooftop access door opened. Selina gritted her teeth. Sure, everyone come up and see the light show. She pulled back behind the machinery.

"Where is your guard?" Bane asked.

"I left him inside," Miranda Tate's accented voice said as footsteps moved across the roof.

Selina swallowed, but her insides refused to work thanks to sensory overload. Her stomach rolled. Don't you dare throw up now!

"I'm safe enough with you." Miranda's footsteps stopped. "Deshi basara," she said.

Bane responded in the same melodious language that Selina's ears did not recognize. She heard his clothing shift as he moved. She peeked around the machinery again. Bane wrapped one of his arms around Miranda's shoulders. She leaned against his side and wrapped an arm around his waist as they stared at the burning bat and talked. There was no hesitation in their speech, no coercion in their gestures. Selina pulled back from the corner.

Selina's brain took the evidence from her eyes and ears, and set it aside. Then it concentrated on moving her body without any sound. Her body carried through the directions rather than quake with revulsion. Two images battled in her mind as she landed on the ledge around the fourth floor: the hug she just witnessed and those same arms lifting Batman over Bane's head.

She sat down in the open window of Fox's former cell. They hadn't bothered to board it up. She automatically stowed her climbing claws back into her belt. Miranda Tate hugged Bane. Miranda Tate spoke fluently in a foreign language with Bane. Miranda Tate ditched her guard because she was on snuggling terms with Bane.

Selina's feet touched the floor. A wave of anger pushed up through her body. She silently mimicked a hissing cat to focus all the rage on one goal. The bitch would pay for betraying Bruce's trust in her. The bitch would pay for hurting Selina to hurt Bruce.

With that vowed, her brain slotted the evidence into place to allow her to figure out how to accomplish that. How deep was the bitch in with these assholes? Selina eased open the unlocked door to the hall and glanced down the empty hall. She remembered the way to the Mayor's office suite from the plans. She had thought Bane would claim it for his bedroom, but maybe he shared it with his snuggle-bunny. She choked down her gag reflex and glided around the corner.

The Mayor's office was across the hall from the elevator. The reception area behind the glass doors had become their new command center. Selina bit down on her bottom lip and tasted her waxy lipstick. At this point, she didn't think they could learn anything from their plans. She twisted the door knob to the Mayor's office.

If Selina hadn't been thoroughly convinced by the display on the roof, the unlocked door would have. Miranda Tate was no prisoner here. A woman's navy blue pea coat hung on the coat stand next to the door and it wafted a perfume blend of jasmine and frankincense as Selina stepped inside. Her eyes roamed over Garcia's photographs and displayed memorabilia, the shoved out of place desk, and the military cot set up in the center of the room. She turned back to the coat and ran her hands along it. The right pocket had something about the size of a marker but no cap. She pulled out a cylinder with a red button protected from accidental pushing by a hard plastic flap over it.

Her lungs burned and she sucked in air as she stared at the fucking trigger. Her fingers wrapped around it. Think. If I take it, what is the worst that can happen?

The mercenaries fired their guns on the crowd of people in the Dungeon. Bane pressed a button on the black sphere and a mushroom cloud exploded over Gotham's skyscrapers. Selina shook these visions out of her head. Taking it was too risky, but the thought of sabotage made her grin.

She pulled Bruce's EMP generator key fob out of her belt pouch. She punched the button and heard a whine from the trigger as the lights died. She held the trigger to her ear, but the whine didn't repeat. She tucked it back into the coat pocket, put the key fob back into her pouch, and slid out the door.

The hall was still empty. She eased her way back to Fox's prison office. A scuff against the floor made her pause at the door. Someone was between her and the easiest exit. She slipped the knockout spray out of her belt.

The mercenary whirled from the window with a lit cigarette hanging from his lips when she opened the door. Without breaking stride, she crossed the room and sprayed him in the face. His lunge transformed into a topple, but she caught him. She laid him on the cot before shutting the door and barricading it with a chair. "I'm not sorry for the trouble you'll be in," she whispered. She stubbed out the cigarette before hopping up to the window.

Now she had to get back to the Tumbler and tell Bruce. Her glance at the roof and ground revealed no eyes watching her. She sank the claws into the concrete side and swung off the ledge. Down she went until her feet touched the sidewalk around the building. She waited in the shadows for her eyes to adjust to her goggles again. Once the world returned to shades of grey, she moved down the shadowed path and ducked into the first alley. The Tumbler was three blocks away and still no alarm.

But her heart pounded like she had been caught.

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