Date: May 2, 2010
Following the incident at the Foot Court Janet reconnects with Batman.
"Just Doing Their Jobs"
The King's Hotel — Brooklyn
After Emergency Services had showed up, Janet had gratefully given up her role as doctor, particularly after issuing her statement to the police and has begun walking home very very slowly. Enroute, she slips her hands into her pocket and finds… a business card. With a smile edging her lips she extracts her cellphone from her other pocket and dials carefully. Who will she reach? Batman. Presumably.
After leaving the Food Court with Archie Wheeler, Porter's night got even more interesting. He was injured during a brief, intense car chase with a third member of the abduction team. Presently, he's trying to pick pieces of his DeSoto's side mirror out of his left tricep.
It's almost a relief to be distracted by the tinny ringing of his disposable cell phone. He drops his tweezers, picks it up, and thumbs it on. "Hello?"
Woah. Someone answered. Blinking, Janet manages a mischievous smile, "H-hi?" She blinks as she presses the phone tighter to her ear. Glancing down the block, she stops midway on the emptying sidewalk. "Hi. Is this — is this Batman?" her eyes narrow a little. "I'm — I was in the Food Court earlier tonight — the lady doctor type person. Sorry — it's been a weird night — "
"Batman?" Porter lets out a rolling chuckle and sags into a desk chair that has seen better days. He spins in a slow circle. So has the rest of his hotel room. "I like that. Yeah, this is Batman. Since we're so close, though, you can call me Porter."
"Porter. Alright, Porter it is!" Janet exclaims with a bright smile. "I'm Janet. Janet McCarty. You can call me Janet. Or Doc. Either works — people pretty much call me both, even before I was a doctor, mostly because I have the most ridiculous middle name ever and I was always the kid in my family with the brains — hence doc — " she clamps her mouth shut, she's rambling again. And then she gets on track, "Okay so the Food Court — Ohmygosh what on earth happened in there?! It was nuts!"
Porter smiles broadly and shifts his phone to the crook of his neck, freeing his hands to roll a cigarette. "We had some night, didn't we?" he says, dropping a pinch of tobacco into a leaf of rolling paper. When it's twisted up, he licks and seals it with a brisk one-handed flick. "Those guys were pretty intense. Shotguns and such. You did good, though. Not everyone would give medical attention to a hostage taker."
Curiouser and curiouser. "It was insane. The police barely believed the story — honestly I don't know what happened, what their motivation was, or anything — " Janet's eyebrows furrow tightly. "Besides I was just doing my job. That's part of the job description and the hippocratic oath, I wouldn't be a very good Doctor if I hadn't, but thanks. God knows I've treated patients in many a strange situation. But, I wanted to know what was that? Like really, why? Who wants to take the Food Court hostage y'know? Like it doesn't make sense — a bank yes, a food court, no — "
"They were a strange bunch, that's for sure." Skirting the issue? Mini-skirting, more like. Porter lights his cigarette, takes a long draw, and exhales appreciatively. "Ahhh. Slow down, Doc. It's too early to get yourself all lathered up."
If you listen very closely, you can almost hear him winking.
"Listen. Can you do me a favor? I have… uh… a couple of splinters. I'd like to get them looked at by a pro, but Batman can't exactly walk into the ER." Curiously, he only takes one more drag from his cigarette before stubbing it out.
Janet holds the phone between her shoulder and her ear. Generally it's not a good idea to just randomly meet some strange man on a whim, but then her curiosity is stronger than her spidey sense; the same reason she took the job with the 'terrorists' — that turned out real well. With a small smirk she responds, "Well I suppose it would raise questions for Bruce Wayne if he showed up to the ER." Beat. "I can stitch you up — where do I find you?"
Porter pauses for a moment to pump his fist in silent victory. "Ah. I'm at the Kings Hotel in Brooklyn. It's on 39th. Room 412. And Janet… Thanks."
He switches his phone off, takes a deep breath, and then starts stuffing audio bugs, spare magazines, and fake passports into his desk drawers.
After hanging up, the doctor mumbles to herself, "Janet, what are you thinking? Well you can't very well not show up now — he has your name and he's freakin' Batman — " she slowly inhales a deep breath before changing directions and hailing down a cab, there's no way she's walking to Brooklyn. Lucky for Janet she's dressed fairly well today so she easily gets someone to drive her to
Some time later the cab pulls up to the Kings Hotel in Brooklyn. "You must be kidding me —" Janet quips while the cab drives away and she stares at the unusual sight that is the Kings Hotel. It's a odd enough meeting a stranger at a hotel, but here? It's cheap looking, but clean enough, but the strange English/Japanese signs are confusing in and of themselves. "Well I guess you've come this far."
She braves the inside and walks up the stares to the fourth floor and meanders down the hall cautiously before stopping at number 412. She raises a hand to rap on the door, but she hesitates. With yet another deep breath, she gathers her courage and raps on the door, "Batman — I mean, Porter?"
After a few seconds, the bolt sildes back and Porter opens up. He looks a bit tired, but he's still smiling. He's lost his jacket and shirt somewhere between the Food Court and here, leaving him in suit pants and a snug white t-shirt. His left sleeve is torn and stained with spots of blood. Two small, twisted pieces of steel are imbedded in the back of his arm about three inches above his elbow. It's not a severe wound, but it's a difficult one to tend yourself.
"It's good to see you again," he greets Janet warmly. "Please, come in."
His room is much like the rest of the hotel. Clean, threadbare, and sparsely furnished. A narrow bed, a desk, and a lamp account for most of the contents. No personal items, though. Not a single photograph, ticket stub, or receipt. The only things in the room that (probably) weren't supplied by the hotel are a WWII surgical kit, a bottle of vodka, and rolls of tape and gauze, all laid out on the desk.
"Thanks," Janet smiles broadly at the greeting; it all seems above board especially because of the injury. She glances at the arm and then around the room. "So — you don't stay here very often do you?" Of course the lack of personal items is a giveaway unless he's just one of those people. "So can I look at it?" she tilts her head and cranes her neck.
"Kings Hotel," Porter drones. "My home away from home."
There's a merry twinkle in his eyes as he meets Janet's gaze for several seconds. Then he winks, hops up on the desk, and pushes up what's left of his sleeve. He leans his injured arm a bit nearer to the light. On the inside of his bicep, where it rests close to his heart, there's a simple tattoo of an eagle grasping the globe in its talons. Around it are the words 'DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR.'
Squinting at the injury, Janet grasps for the arm to bring it even closer to the light. She reaches for the first aid kit and extracts a pair of white surgical gloves which draws a small frown and then a purse of her lips. After pulling them on, she forces a smile, and inspects the injury closer before asking, "What is USMC?" Beat. "And what on earth was that at the Food Court? Like it was crazy — we established that but it was beyond crazy it was like something out of a movie or a comic book or something — " Turning back to the med kit she searches for tweezers.
Porter smiles crookedly and suppresses a laugh. "USMC? That's a club I belong to." He touches the tattoo with the fingertips of his right hand and lets out a quiet, happy sigh. "Er. Food Court. About that. If the cops follow up with you, I'd appreciate it if you kept my name out of things. Red and blue lights clash with my superhero cape. Anyway, seemed like they were after that kid, so I drove him home. Now he's safe as houses."
Months ago, not telling the police everything seemed like a very very bad idea. Fortunately, a lot has happened between then and now. She nods with furrowing eyebrows. "But who were they? And what on earth did they want?" Her eyes narrow as she chooses the large tweezers from the kit. She blinks hard as her eyes water slightly, but she uses her sleeves to rub at her itching eyes. "And I don't mean to sound like a pill, but I'm just really confused. That's all." She shrugs as she pulls his arm even closer to the light and bites her bottom lip before working at pulling the metal out, "And what happened here? I'm pretty sure this wasn't from the Food Court — "
"Not so much," Porter agrees. "Those are pieces of my car. Ow. Ow. Ow! Side mirror, I think." He tolerates the extraction as stoically as can be expected. When Janet is finished, he sighs out a puff of air and reaches to grab her wrist just behind the glove. It's gentle, meant only to stop her and gain her full attention. Once again, he makes unwavering eye contact. He's maintained his smile, but now he looks a bit sad. "Professional kidnappers. Bad people. They're better off in jail. Trust me, you don't want to know those guys." He lets her go and offers his wounded arm again. Now that the shrapnel has been removed, the punctures are bleeding again. They're fairly deep, but quite narrow.
Janet maintains the eye contact several moments after being released. She shoots him a soft almost reassuring smile, "Look. You got the bad guys. It's okay now, right? Like they didn't get the funny Food Court kid, and everyone got out completely unharmed — other than the kidnappers, but then I guess they got what was coming to them." Her eyebrows furrow tighter as she turns back to the end of the desk and leafs through the green pouch for ointment, swabs, and sutures. "I'm gonna clean the wound first and then worry about stitching you up."
"So what on earth is your job? I mean you seem like Batman without the cape. You had a piece of your car in your arm, annnnnnnd you protected some fella from kidnappers. Is this your job or a really unusual hobby?" She uses a swab to clean up the wound.
Porter props his palm against the desk to stabilize his arm while Janet works on it. He tosses a short, friendly laugh to her over his shoulder. "You're refreshingly direct. I like that." He furrows his brow deeply, unintentionally matching the doctor's expression. "My job is… complicated. I really don't want to lie to you," he explains. "Is it okay if I just say that I try my best to help people and we leave it at that?"
Rather than sarcastic or cutting, it's a direct, honest question. He keeps looking over his shoulder at the young woman who was brave enough to cab across town and provide medical attention to a stranger in a hotel room.
Blinking hard again, Janet rubs at her now reddening eyes with her shirt sleeve again. Refocusing on her work, she instructs with a small curl of her lips, "Please try to stay still, okay?' She manages a small grin as she focuses on her work and begins stitching up the first of the wounds very carefully. "I can be satisfied with that answer. I guess I do the same thing in a way, I do my best to help people too!"
When the stitching starts, Porter finally proves he can flinch like a man made of flesh instead of stone. "H-Hold on," he says, waving Janet off for a second while he takes a swig of vodka directly from the bottle. He lets out a couple of manly grunts in preperation and then offers his arm to Jan. "Whoo! That's… yeah. Okay. Have I thanked you profusely? You have to let me buy you a drink."
Janet pauses at the request and grins broadly. "You're welcome — this is just part of the job, well, the profession. I'm not actually employed anymore." Her face flushes a little, "But I'm still a doctor and just for the record I wasn't fired." She issues him a toothy grin, "I'm sorry. I talk a lot, I know I do; always have, always will." As far as the drink is concerned, "It's not needed, but… maybe? So weird stitching up a random stranger in a random hotel room — "
"I can think of weirder things," Porter deadpans, then cracks a smile. "I'm just glad you called. I was worried the Food Court incident might've been too much for you to handle. Glad I was wrong."
From his tone, he was anything but worried.
He leans back against the desk and swivels his arm around to inspect Janet's handiwork. "You tie a tidy knot, Doc. There has to be something I can do to repay you." He glances back at her. "It's not every day that a pretty former doctor makes a house call to my hotel room."
Porter is shot a sidelong glance. "It was pretty intense. But they were just guns." Beat. Janet's eyes widen as she nervously explains, "I mean guns are dangerous they are I know that, I'm not stupid, I'm a doctor for Pete's sake but they're not as dangerous as other things and it was scary, but I mean, it can always be scarier, right?" Smile.
"And the whole stitchin' people up is just part of the job." She blushes slightly, "You think I'm pretty?" Sliding the latex gloves off her hands she frowns — her hands are red and slightly swollen underneath. Immediately she stuffs them in her pockets. "Well… you could buy me dinner sometime. I'm afraid mine at the Food Court was long since spoiled by the time I got back to it — but not there."
"I'd love to buy you dinner," Porter replies. He smiles winningly, but the expression wavers when he glances at Janet's hands. Still, as a practiced gentleman, it's not polite to call attention to something a person is trying to hide. As such, he chooses not to notice it. Not in detail, anyway. Instead, he lays a gentle hand on her shoulder and asks, "You okay?"
"Honestly, I'm fine. Nothing a little benadryl won't fix." Janet bites her bottom lip but pushes another smile. "I'm allergic to that white powder they put in the gloves," she shrugs. "I normally use the blue ones at work, but most first aid kits don't think of those things." She shrugs. "It's not a severe allergy, mostly just an irritant. Hence the red watery eyes and now reddened hands." She shrugs again. "It's not a big deal, I swear. And I totally knew it was coming."
"Aw. You put yourself through that for me? You're too kind, m'dear. And precious, with your sniffles and your blushing." Porter grins, taking ten years off his face. It leaves him looking youthful and mischevious. "Go on, get outta here. Find yourself some antihistimines. I have your number now. I'll call you soon about dinner."
"I'm normally more prepared and carry a pair with me the fault is my own," Janet shrugs again as she pads towards the door. "Take care of that arm and try to avoid getting car shrapnel in it again — okay?" Offering him a small three fingered wave, she opens the door and disappears down the hall destined for a pharmacy.