It took some time to get the file -- after the Vesper Fairchild murder investigation, GCPD was very, very nervous about even glancing in Bruce Wayne's general direction -- but once Maggie did, what she read disturbed her. She thought it over very carefully for two days, checked as much of the data as she could. Once she made her decision, she called as soon as she could track down a private number. She didn't want the brush-off of flunkies; she had to talk to the man himself.
Amazingly, he answered his own phone.
"Mr. Wayne?" she said. "This is Captain Maggie Sawyer, with the Gotham City Police Department. I'm sorry to bother you, sir, but -- I think there may have been more to Jason Todd's death than anyone realized, earlier."
A moment of stony silence. "I've been through this," Wayne said. "Several times. Most recently with Child Protective Services -- "
"Sir, I don't think there was any neglect on your part," said Maggie. "I just don't think this was an accident. Or a terrorist bombing, as the Ethiopian government later suggested." She paused. She wished there was a way to make what she was going to say not sound fantastic. "I think Jason was murdered by the Joker."
There was a very long silence from the other end of the line.
"We're working on some new techniques for tracking and identifying the city's... unusual offenders. In the wake of Joker's sniper spree. To identify possible perpetrators of a crime early on, stop them before they announce themselves. And looking over the history of Joker's movements, some of his methods, and what we know of Jason's death, I saw -- it's not certain, I can't say much given what I have, but -- "
"What do you want, Captain?"
Maggie bit her lip. This was it. She'd have to sell him, and even after thinking for two days she had no idea how she'd do it.
"I'd like your permission to exhume Jason and conduct a new autopsy," she said.
"Out of the question," Wayne said immediately.
"I know it's a lot to ask," Maggie said. "But if Joker is responsible for -- "
"One more death? Two more deaths? A dozen?" Wayne sounded incredulous. "What possible difference could it make?"
"Well," said Maggie quietly, "I just thought it might make a difference to you."
Wayne didn't say anything.
"Mr. Wayne," she said, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean that the way it sounded -- "
"Jason had a hard life. A hard death. I want to let him rest."
She'd expected as much. "I understand, sir. Thank you for your time -- "
"Thank you, Captain."
"For calling me." Wayne paused. "You do fine police work."
Maggie blinked. "Thank you, Mr. Wayne."
It wasn't a compliment she'd expected to receive from a man who'd been wrongly arrested and imprisoned for murder. He sounded as if he meant it. As if he admired police.
She was still puzzling over that when she realized he'd hung up the phone.
Maggie lowered her telephone's receiver and replaced it in the cradle. She frowned. Still wondering why Wayne had said what he'd said, why he'd meant it...
The cover of the manila folder in the center of her desk caught Maggie's eye. She picked it up, weighing it in her hand. Then flipped it open and looked at the photograph paper-clipped to the inside.
Jason Todd was a good-looking kid, she thought. A little haunted, maybe; that was the streets on him, even if he hadn't been on them anymore. But he was wearing nice clothes, and he was sitting on a grassy lawn, with what looked like a big house behind him. He was smiling, and Maggie found herself smiling back. The big house must be Bruce Wayne's. She felt sorry for Wayne, now, in that big house all alone.
They deserved better, she thought. Both of them.
She traced the edge of the photograph with her finger. Then flipped the file closed and tossed it in her outbox, for return to storage.
"Sorry, kid," she said. "Maybe another day."
[Jason Todd / Maggie Sawyer]