His palms were coated in the slick of saline as he was shoved forward.
Bound were his wrists, gagged were his lips. The cold linoleum tile, at this time of winter, singed his flesh deep where the fabric of his jeans had been torn.
John kept his eyes on the forms of his captors, kept his ground sound. The young Gotham Cop-turned-honorary-Detective his body tall even as he fell before the men who were to be his certain death.
He shouldn’t have been captured.
Shouldn’t have been wandering the streets tracking the stolen trucks or passing notes along to his comrades trapped beneath the city streets.
John shouldn’t have been doing a lot of things now that Gotham had become the sought source of liberation of one masked maker-of-malevolence—Bane.
This was Gotham he was fighting for—This was his city. His duty. And his damned will to protect the city, the people, the boys back in the home he’d left so many years before…It wasn’t a thought for him anymore.
A blow came up to the brunettes cheek from his right. He felt the skin just above his arched cheekbones split. Crimson fell from the split seam, staining his ivory flesh. The stream fell to his lips, tinted purple by the cold. He licked at the metallic tinge, spitting before the feet of his captors.
He would suffice.
And the men before him, no matter the beating they could give, the sentence they would lay down—if even death come his way—John would take it.
He would fight for Gotham, in silence and in suffrage.
Until the end of himself, even; a fight would be had.
"Officer Blake!" The slightly automated tone rasped out across the cavern like walls surrounding John. Heavy footsteps fell across the silence that had taken over the room, echoed out and cut all breath from those around them.
"That’s Detective," John corrected with a jerk of his head as he struggled to match glances; licking the remaining saliva and blood from the corner of his mouth. "Got promoted."
The steel toe of a boot curved upwards against his ribs, hitting him right beneath the breast plate, burying deep against his lungs. The detective hissed out his remaining air, doubling over but never crying out.
They’d have to do better than that.
They would, he knew.
"Oh, titles, titles." The voice mused as he struggled to regain his position. The steps drew nearer, the echoing ceasing. John could feel the soft air push past him, prickling against the exposed skin of his forearm where his sleeves had been torn clean off.
John’s lip twitched with more words, a breath of air finding its way to his chest. He winced, feeling the cinders that singed the sensitive flesh of his ribs. Something had to be cracked. His lungs were aflame. Peachy. “All your fellow officers lay in constant, condemned, wait beneath the city; lay in the ruins of sewer and sick…” John felt his skin prickle against the sensed presence at his back.
"…and you’re still claiming a title?”
"I’m claimin’ my duty to the people ‘a Gotham." John could see the dark shape from the corner of his vision seeping in closer. He struggled to turn, the burn in his body still causing him to recoil against his will. A hand pressed down on his shoulder, sturdy fingers curling into the dip of his collarbone.
The detective winced then at the contact, expecting pressure, expecting the splinter and fray of bone on flesh; but nothing came. Instead he watched as the men around him slowly dispersed back into the shadows of the town-hall-turned-headquarters. John watched as those dark boots, laced up, buckled and bolted down with brute force stepped before him. He raised his glance up from the floor once more, setting his lips in a firm line, his jaw grinding as he kept his expression strong.
"Such determination in your eyes, I read." John did not shift as the tyrant brute knelt before him, tilting his chin forward, forcing his face closer and closer. Bane tilted his head slightly as he glanced upon John, dark colorless eyes crinkling at the seam, John was sure a smile brooded beneath the cage around the other mans mouth.
"Determination and patriotic intentions deemed fit to fail." The mechanical tone noted from the grill of the cage. "Such spirit." Bane’s words were drawn out, whispered in that rasped fashion as they fell with what was almost, in John’s eyes, a caricatured slip of intimacy.
"It will be a pleasure to watch it broken."
"It’s spirit for a reason," John hissed as he jerked back against the touch. It was warm, heated, almost too hot. His skin was cold, frostbitten from the hold of the streets. "Easily broken just ain’t the way it works."
"Ah, but you admit—Detective—that it can, in fact, be broken.” Bane pulled the smaller man easily with him in one swift motion as he rose. John’s feet skittered above the linoleum, hovering barely.
“Perhaps in the past it was not so easily broken, perhaps not broken at all,” Another tilt of the tyrants head followed. He studied John for a moment, those too-hot fingers settling against the Detectives torn cloth and bruised flesh. ”But times are changing!” Bane continued to muse, a laugh humming out in that sickening mechanical tone. “And as the fire rises, as your beloved city and hero-of-sorts falls in public view for all to see…You will find, John Blake, that many, many morals—many values, beliefs, natures left in short to human will and wonder—in the end, can be left broken.”