AN/ This takes place in the future and its kind of a fusion of the movies and the show. I will make sure to explain what the differences are if need be, its pretty straight forward. All you really need to know is: Jerome is not the joker. Heath Ledger's Joker is the one in the story.
Jim Gordon sat at his desk shuffling through papers. He hardly had the time to file and sign most reports, simply because he was so busy. With loony's like the Penguin and Scarecrow running around he hardly ever got a rest, not to mention time to file and sign paper work. Whenever one was incarcerated and sent to Arkham another seemed to take its place. It was, quite frankly, exhausting.
The current paper work he was slaving over was for one of the biggest headaches to grace Gotham; the Joker. Though, he supposed the dubbed clown was more than just a mere headache, more like an infectious virus.
Shaking his head, he signed the bottom of the report with a flourish, once again aggrieved he was writing a report on how the Joker caused utter chaos once again. He understood the reasoning behind such reports, tightening security and all that, but they were tiring all the same. After having to write seemingly over a hundred reports for the Joker, he had the strongest urge to write down utter nonsense to entertain himself.
Clown escapes. Bat arrives. Fight breaks out. Things go boom.
Putting the papers aside in bemusement he looked towards his office door hearing footsteps. One of his main detectives knocked and opened the door looking grim. Of course, they always looked grim these days.
"What happened?" Commissioner Gordon asked tiredly.
"Is she here for her appointment?" Gordon interrupted, remembering the strange woman that had come into the office last week. She arrived with claims many people have made before so it wasn't that big of an issue.
Many people claimed to have known the Joker before he was, well, the Joker. Most of the time these people were a little off themselves and those who brought believable leads, ended up proving false in the end. So, despite the fact the lady had come from a traveling circus and was very adamant in her claim, they went through standard procedure and gave her an appointment for later in the week.
Commissioner Gordon looked at the detective expectantly and the young man shook his head; "Sir, Miss Valeska was found dead this morning."
Gordon froze and he stared; "By natural causes?"
The detective gave him a sarcastic look that went along the lines of; what do you think? That being the only reply he needed Gordon stood and snatched his coat striding out the door. Soon enough he was in a car with Detective Bard and they were on their way to the crime scene.
Three hours later Miss Valeska's son sat in front of him his eyes rimmed red from tears. The boy was distraught over the death of his mother. When Gordon arrived at the crime scene he found the boy hunched in a corner with a shock blanket wrapped securely around him.
His shoulders were shaking along with his tears and Gordon's heart went out to the boy as it always did with children. The boy was quite a bit older to be considered a child anymore but his grief made the boy look more vulnerable, more childlike.
They weren't in one of the interrogation rooms, though. Jim felt as if it would be cruel to subject the new orphan to the eerie green walls and endless abyss of the two way mirrors. They sat in his office, recorder clicking on his desk.
"Do you know of anyone who would want to harm your mother, Jerome?"
Jerome shook his head and Gordon sighed. The boy was tall with shocking ginger hair and looked very little like the woman they found dead. His mother had dark hair; dark skin and Gordon guessed the boy took more after his father.
Jim wanted to ask but something stilled his tongue. He was already aware of the life style the woman lived and didn't want to bring up a sore subject to a grieving boy. He frowned and decided to follow a different string of questions.
"Can you tell us what your mother was doing the night she died?"
Jerome shifted and rearranged his hands on the table. His lips thinned out and he spoke, his voice rough from a night of shedding tears; "She was spending the night with one of her lovers."
Gordon shifted, "Do you know who?"
The boy shook his head; "She has many, even recurring ones when we pass different towns."
Gordon asked for the names of the ones he knew and the boy gave them. Mentally drawing up a timeline, he pondered. The time of death must have been that evening, since according to everyone's testimonies she had been absent that whole day.
Her body was hidden in one of the stage carts, so it was likely the killer was a member of the circus. Going over the list of names Jerome gave him, he recognized two from the circus.
When the two men gave their testimonies earlier neither of them denied their involvement with Lyla Valeska, both accusing the other of killing the woman. They clearly despised the other and it was obvious they had been disputing over her for a long time.
Jim felt disappointed. The woman's death was horrible, of course, but he had almost hoped the Joker had been involved somehow. That would have led to something perhaps, the one lead they would need to uncover the identity of the mad man. Though, it was becoming increasingly clear that the woman's death was a product of the woman's lifestyle.
"Did your mother's love life bother you?" Gordon asked. Jerome became still and he looked up at the commissioner, his eyes big. Something unpleasant settled in Gordon's gut as he stared at the innocent and earnest expression on the boy.
"If it weren't for my mother's love life then I wouldn't be here now, would I?"
Gordon chuckled uncomfortably, unable to understand why he felt a chill go down his spine. The boy seemed like a sweet kid, one who loved his mother despite her flaws. Yet, something felt…extremely off. He squashed it down and smiled at the boy, standing up.
Jerome followed suit, untangling his long legs from behind the desk; "Am I free to leave?"
The answer yes was settling on his lips when he held back, remembering something. He thought back to when Miss Valeska entered the station the previous week, hoping to talk to someone. Since he always dealt with cases concerning the Joker he went out personally to talk to her.
Her appearance was startling, mostly because she was still in her stage clothes and it wasn't every day you saw a snake dancer. She was annoyed but not surprised that she had to wait for another week to speak seriously with anyone.
They had a short conversation and Gordon warned her that if her premonitions were right they couldn't guarantee her safety. She simply stared at him and said something that was coming back with sharp clarity;
"I normally wouldn't get involved but…I'm frightened of…for my son."
The phrase could have meant anything and honestly he didn't dwell on the cryptic phrase that had two meanings. Now, though, with her dead body hanging over it, it took on a different seriousness.
He glanced sharply at the dead woman's son now and looked him over. It's possible he could…? Gordon shook his head. Anyone who thought they knew the Joker would fear for the life of anyone close to them.
"Sir?" Jerome asked his hands stuffed in his pockets. Gordon looked at the boy's face remembering the way his mother said 'frightened of' before she seemed to correct herself and said 'frightened for'.
But…that didn't-it couldn't.
"Would you be willing to do a favor for me, Jerome?" Gordon asked. The boys head tilted slightly in a silent gesture that seemed to say; go on. Gordon smiled tightly and herded the teenager out of the room as he spoke.
"It would be very helpful if you could provide a DNA sample for Forensics, we've been taking samples all day, it's more or less procedure."
Gordon bit his tongue and hoped the boy didn't question the request. It was a bent truth; there was no way they had been taking samples from everyone. And it was procedure but only the ones with cases against them were required to give samples. Jerome had no case at all and had an alibi.
He only wanted it to test the premonition that was creeping through his brain but Jerome had to agree. If he consented and gave a sample to the GCPD, then it would become their property and Jim could do whatever he wanted with it.
Thankfully, Jerome was oblivious to his conflict and pondered the request for a moment before shrugging his shoulders and accepting. Quickly enough the boy had signed some papers, gave the sample, and left in a cab.
Watching him leave, Gordon once again felt his stomach go tight with anxiety, even if he wasn't quite sure what for. Turning away from the window he surveyed the station and took in all the people in various costumes strewn about. He talked with one of his detectives and met with another circus suspect, itching for the opportunity to investigate his hunch on Jerome further.
Till Next Time