Career ChangeA pre-Power Company Story
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters. DC does. Too bad.
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The echo of footsteps. The jingle of keys. Josiah Power didn't bother to look up. He'd been twelve hours at least, locked alone in this reinforced holding cell. Trust the New York police to have such a place. He supposed they had dealt with meta- criminals before. He just had never considered that the list might include - himself. He looked around. No windows, of course. Not even an inside grate to the hall. Just white walls, a mattress, a sink, and a commode. Plus the cameras, of course. It was smaller than the one his had endured before, if somewhat cleaner, but not truly different.
As his treatment was not truly different. Oh, a touch more polite. Not kind or humane, but the officers were being carefully professional. Blue uniforms, carefully reading him the rights he understood far better then they could. Black suits muttering at the other side of a supposedly one way mirror, not bothering with questions they would have answered by far more reliable sources then the unpredictable monster sipping rancid coffee in the interrogation room. One slightly apologetic young lady in a while jacket. She had been gentler than Dr. Ovarni, but little different in intent.
Still, he could not quite complain about his treatment. He had been fed - of a sort. Given clean clothing - of a sort. Given the promise of council - eventually. All with an cool efficiently still sufficiently humane to fall just within the civil rights of one who could be either suspect or material witness.
He had given up trying to decide if that was because of his meta-human status or because of his bar membership. A voice at the back of his mind sneered that both could inconvenience a cop - simply in different ways.
Not in his case. He was no Shaggy Man, inclined to thrash through buildings and reek havoc on the civil infrastructure. And he wasn't much of a judicial threat either. His old partners might feel compelled to recommend someone to defend him - if he pushed himself to ask - but they would be more inclined to distance the firms good name.
He wasn't sure he could bring himself to blame them.
He had passed a few of the later hours considering which of his fellow barristers he would call in for his defense, and had come up blank. Not for lack of talent, but from simple hesitation to impose. He wasn't sure he would have wanted to deal with such irredeemable idiot as himself. Lord knows, he had passed cases off on junior associates for far less cause.
The jingle at the door became a groan. Then a squeal.
That drew his eyes.
"Mr. Powers?" The gray haired officer at the door was like all the others. Formal. Unreadable.
"Josh?" A thinner form pushed past the uniformed man.
He sat up, every joint in his spine locked. "Rupe?"
Ruse was - looking good, if a bit tired. A hint of shadow in those gold eyes.
"You sound surprised." Ruse surged forward, wrapping his arms around Josiah's bulk as the heavier man struggled up from the narrow mattress." I should be offended. Would, if it wasn't so damn good to just see you alive."
"Not you." Josh returned the embrace, half by familiarity and half from the need to just believe that Rupert truly had come for him. Even if it was as his council, and nothing more. That the man he loved would still be there. "I just..." Power faltered, throat closing on the emotions. "It's been..."
"The fucking three damn longest weeks in the universe." Rupert finished, giving a last squeeze before stepping back.
He turned to the uniformed man still at he door. "We're ready."
Josiah Power watched with a certain amusement as the door opened further. "You got me bail?"
The slimmer man laughed. As much relief as humor, but still it was a good sound. "They're letting you go."
Josiah shook his head. Not quite denial, but... "I didn't think I'd get off so lightly."
The officer at the door gave Power a sour look. "Not like the DA had a choice. Not with Superman on your side."
Power blinked. Superman had intervened? Blue-and-red single-bound save-the-world JLA Superman? The man who never, ever testified? He stared at Rupert. "He was..."
"Quite forceful on the point." The slighter man took his arm, urging him towards the door. It likely looked like a Chihuahua dragging a mastiff from the outside, but in Josiah's bemused state it was quite enough to get the party moving.
"I was sure they'd at least charge conspiracy." Not that he should question fortune, but after the last weeks. Good fortune seemed almost to improbable a concept to accept.
"Crime requires intent, and after I pointed out to the DA that guards with power weapons and exploding collars more then fits the requirements for duress." Rupert fell into his most scholastic voice. The one he used to lecture first year law student - and to make his lover laugh. "As upheld by Ferris vs. Clancy. Not to mention..."
To make him laugh - and to make him hard. Neither of which were particularly appropriate to the third sub-basement of the Manhattan Central Police Station. "None of that, Rupe." Josiah rubbed the gray clad arm. reveling in the near-forgotten dance of hard muscles under soft wool. "You know what it does when you talk citations."
"Why else would I do it?" Rupert paused a moment, leaning against the larger form.
"Gentlemen?" The uniformed officer turned back, clearly displeased at the delay.
"OK." Rupert started back down the narrow hall. "Not here."
The world were denial, but the tone was not. Inherent was the promise of 'but still somewhere'. A promise he had truly believed was gone beyond recall. But now? With Rupert here?
"No." Josiah smiled slightly, feeling the sense of connection - of life - come back suddenly. It gave him strength. Made him want to move. "I wouldn't want to give them another reason to throw me into jail." He rested his hand on Rupert's shoulder, following him down the narrow passage. Followed him because -at long last - someone was leading him to a way out. A way back. This dark basement, this constant gloom, these were not forever the rest of the world for him. "So - I get off with nothing?"
"Not a chance." Passing the officer, the gray-suited man stepped into the narrow elevator, squeezing back to give Josiah space. Even so, it was tight. Not that he was complaining. Especially when Rupe brushed one hand over his chest on the was to press the control buttons. "You're coming home with me." He left his hand on Josiah's waist. It was strangely hot through the thin prison coverall. Or perhaps it was just that he had grown unused to contact. "When I get you there?" Rupert growled against his shoulder. It was both a threat and a promise. Both were cherished. "I better get something to make up for what I paid that detective. Not to mention my lost billable hours."
"Detective?" Rupert had looked for him? Josiah slumped forward, suddenly weak.
"Of course I hired a detective. A very highly recommended detective, who you are going to pay." Resting his cheek against Josiah's spine, Rupert continued. "Do you know what it was like to come home and find that stupid note from you..."
This was supposed to feed into a John Jones story (said persona being J'onn in one of his human personas ) but the DCU moved on before I could write it, and as the Martian Manhunter is not currently an active Title - much less a detective in Denver? Another plot-bunny dies of starvation and neglect.