Hi. I know people often turn to fanfiction to escape the "real" world, but, seeing as how Mary is a detective, I felt like not having her address this stuff would just be weird.
Looking at the news made Mary Ryan sick.
Looking at her badge made her sicker.
It wasn't all that long ago that Yamazaki asked her if he sensed "a taint in that blue blood." After all, she — a detective for Southtown PD — had, once again, used her connections to go outside the law when she contacted him for a… favour. Giving him the information he needed so he could carry out said favour wasn't the first time she had used her position to do things the average cop wouldn't dare think about… such as walking into the state penitentiary to blow the kneecaps off of a convicted, piece of shit rapist.
The average cop wouldn't dare use their connections to send an infamous lunatic after a piece of shit criminal who held a gun to their best friend's head (which then allowed the best friend to be violently assaulted by none other than the piece of shit rapist who could no longer walk). And the average cop certainly wouldn't dare use their authority to get away with opening fire in their pal's bar simply to prove a point.
Instead, the average cop used their authority and their clout to terrorize innocent civilians.
Sadly, it didn't surprise Mary; she had seen countless members of the force investigated or suspended for brutality when they should have been fired. Hell — she had been investigated and suspended for brutality herself! Of course, while her instances involved criminals (some more violent than others), her coworkers were using excessive force on regular people. Regular people who depended on them; regular people who relied on them for help…!
Mary knew that corruption was spreading through Southtown PD — and getting worse by the day. Hell, the entire system was corrupt; she knew that, too. And, despite knowing, she went back. She re-joined the force after leaving for a while so that she could help make things better — internally and out on the streets. (But, honestly, an actual insurance package and PTO were added incentives for putting herself at risk…) Nevertheless as she sat alone in her living room she had to wonder: was she as guilty as the others?
If she went by what everyone was saying, then the answer was a resounding yes, because, evidently, there was no such thing as a good cop. At least, that's what social media would have her believe.
With a loud sigh Mary picked up her badge from the table and stared down at it, wondering what it meant. Hell, did it even mean anything at all? If she were to walk through the middle of downtown with it clipped to her belt like she always did, people would automatically lump her in with all of the trash. Despite her best efforts and her accolades, she would be seen as nothing more than another asshole pig — another part of the problem.
And her blonde hair and blue eyes certainly wouldn't help.
She placed the badge on the side table and shifted her attention to her laptop: She looked blankly at the computer screen in front of her, almost overwhelmed by the images and videos of police brutality that flooded her timeline over and over again. Never in her wildest dreams would she consider roughing up innocents based on skin colour, and despite her own indiscretions she would certainly never kill someone because of it.
But video after video after witness account after more video showed so many terrible, vicious officers doing just that. It was gut wrenching.
Suddenly the bridge of Pulp's This Is Hardcore began playing from her phone, filling the apartment with the sound of somewhat jazzy vocals over an electric guitar. She found it a little strange that the caller had opted to go straight for the kill with an actual, honest-to-God phone call as opposed to a series of texts, but, at the same time, she knew the exact reasoning behind it… which only reinforced her love for the woman who was on the other end. And, so, Mary picked up the device and placed it up to her ear.
"Hey bb," she said with a sigh.
"Get off Twitter."
Mary couldn't help chuckling at King's greeting. That chick knew her way too well.
"I mean it," King went on. "Close the laptop and talk to me."
"Okay… About what?" Mary asked.
"I don't know. Whatever you feel like talking about. Just… get away from the news for a bit."
Mary moved to refresh her timeline but instantly stopped when King said, "Put. the laptop. down."
"You know I'm just gonna check it all out again later, right?"
"Well, yes, but, maybe I can help provide you with a few minutes of reprieve."
"How do you plan to do that, though? Bb, this is my career that's —!"
"I know. But… you're not like those assholes all over the web and all over the news. They can't do anything to you because you're a good one."
"Apparently we don't exist," Mary said, unable to keep the bitterness out of her voice.
"Well, that's bullshit."
"Is it, though? I mean… What makes me any better than all of these other guys? I've been violent with plenty of offenders and inmates. In the eyes of the world I'm just as bad — maybe even worse."
"You've never hurt an innocent person," King answered.
"Does that really make a difference? In the end I'm still using my authority over others to break the law."
King exhaled; Mary knew she was sitting on her sofa (or maybe her bed) with her lips pressed together as she thought about what to say next because that was just her thing.
"So you've used your power to do things a little… differently… but you've only done it in extreme cases."
"Even so… is it ever really justified?"
Mary furrowed her brow while she pushed a lock of hair behind her ear. She opened her mouth, ready to respond, but King cut her off before she could even start.
"You know… if you hadn't… if it had been any other cop on the scene that night… any other cop on the case… he… wouldn't have gotten the sentence that he did. He'd probably be out doing who knows what. Hurting other people for Big… maybe even hurting them the way he hurt me."
"I wasn't gonna let that happen," Mary dictated, "I wasn't gonna let him get away with that. Not to anyone. But especially not to you."
"And therein lies the difference."
"You think so?"
"You're not really asking if there's a difference between racist badges beating up innocent people to flex their authority and you using yours to kneecap the guy who raped me, are you?"
Mary didn't say anything. Obviously there was a massive difference between the two, but —
"If it hadn't been for you, he'd be out. He'd be out walking around — walking! — and enjoying freedom. But you stepped in — you stopped that from happening. Even if it hadn't been me you would have stopped it. Because you're one of the good ones. It's why I trusted you when we met — because I could see right away that you weren't like all of the other assholes I had to deal with. They all did the same thing — they stared at my breasts and belittled me, nonstop, whereas you did everything you could to make it less painful. In both cases."
"You're painting a really nice picture, Céc," Mary frowned. "But I'm not some kind of hero."
There was silence on the line before King spoke again.
"This is going to sound really cheesy," she started with a grim sort of chuckle, "but…"
"But what?" Mary inquired, curious as to what King could possibly say that would sound "really cheesy."
There was more silence, then. Mary waited expectantly while King took a deep breath and finally said, "You're my hero."
Mary couldn't help laughing because, yeah, that was incredibly cheesy, but it was also incredibly touching, especially since King wasn't really one to get overly sentimental. (Unless she was a little drunk — then all bets were off.)
"Awwww, bb," Mary gushed, "I think that's the sweetest thing you've ever said to me!"
"Well, it's… the truth," King replied. "And, no — I have not been drinking."
"No! I'm serious!"
"Don't let anyone tell you that you're just another pig. You're not. You've done some real good in the world — more so than anyone can ever tell you — so don't let them make you lose sight of that!"
"So… riddle me this," Mary began. "If I'm really one of the good ones… why doesn't it feel like it?"
"Because you care about what other people think and you're prone to depression," King replied. "And now that everyone is screaming that all cops are bad, you're getting into your own head and letting that influence how you see yourself."
"Anyway," King went on, "You know as well as I do that you've always spoken up against injustice —"
"You're making me sound like Kim."
" — and you've always done the right thing. So… keep doing that."
"And I will," Mary responded. "It's just very hard to walk into that station when everything sucks so bad."
"You mean it didn't suck before?"
Mary made a face as she thought of the last time she went to work, and of the peaceful protestors marching outside the Southtown PD building calling for reform. She didn't blame them, of course — something needed to be done — but a few of the things they yelled weren't exactly kind...
"Well, I mean… it did," she replied, "but the masses see me as a 'class traitor' — among other things."
"You know as well as I do that you're not."
There was a long pause.
"If you even think about refreshing your feed I am going to go over there, pandemic be damned, and Trap Shot your ass off the balcony."
"Wow, bb," Mary intoned with a smirk. "I love it when you talk dirty to me like that!"
"Put the goddamn laptop away."
Mary closed her laptop, as instructed, and leaned over to place it on the coffee table. Once finished she settled back in her recliner and stared up at the ceiling while her dog, Anton, walked over so he could rest his head on her knee.
"I think I'm at an impasse, Céc."
"What do you mean?" King asked.
"Well… think about it," Mary answered. "It's not the apples alone that are bad. It's the whole damn tree. What do I do with that?"
"You knew that when you left — and when you went back," King pointed out.
"I know," Mary told her. "It's just… I'm so tired, bb. That thing with the… the guy. Getting out early. If I'm going to put them away… only for them to get out anyway… what am I doing?"
At that, Mary scoffed. She picked up her badge once again and started turning it over in her hand. Over and over and over it went as she zoned out a little.
"I think I need to go for a bit," she stated dully.
"Don't worry — I'm alright. I just… need a few minutes."
"...okay," King said, though her tone was doubtful.
"I'll shoot you a text later. Promise."
"Fine. Stay away from Twitter."
With that, the call was over, plunging the apartment into silence.
Mary looked out the large window in front of her; she fixed her eyes on the deserted baseball stadium across the street, pensive. Everything she told King was true: she didn't know what to do with the rotten tree. The bad outweighed the good so much… it really did seem hopeless.
With a grunt Mary switched her gaze back to the badge in her hand. She took in every detail of the silver plated object: the Southtown PD logo, the numbers etched into it… she carefully ran her finger over the surface… and threw it across the room: it hit the wall and fell to the carpeted floor with a soft thud. Anton immediately perked up; he ran over, retrieved the badge, and brought it back to Mary, who frowned as he deposited the slobber-covered object in her lap. She never gave him the command to fetch. Nevertheless, she picked it up and threw it once more. And, once more, Anton ran across the open space to retrieve it.
"Anton! No," Mary said firmly.
The dog paused. He looked at her, his big, brown eyes shining with intelligence that one wouldn't expect from an animal, and, despite Mary's command, took the badge in his mouth and brought it back to her. He placed it in her lap again, but, in a very strange move, stood on his hind legs and placed one paw on top of the shiny metal, almost as if he was trying to hold it in place.
"I don't think I want it anymore, Bubs."
Mary tried to pry the badge from under Anton's paw but he wouldn't move. Instead, he looked up at her. Her mind suddenly wandered back to what King said — about her being her "hero" — as she squinted at the baseball field. If she had never gone back to the force… if she had continued the private detective thing… she never would have been able to help King — or the numerous people she had met while working different cases. Not only was it possible that they might have never found closure, but her best friend might have been brutalized even worse than she already was — if not outright killed. But because Mary was who she was — because she was a cop — she was able to help them.
"One of the good ones," she muttered out loud. She pulled the badge out from underneath Anton's paw (he grunted as he sat back on his haunches), held it up into the light, and tilted her head. She could be a hero without the damn thing… but having it certainly made helping people a hell of a lot easier.
She turned her head so she could glance at Anton, who was still sitting at her feet, giving her the look he often gave her when he wanted her to do something, be it give him some food or take him out for a walk.
"Fine," she sighed after a moment. "I'll keep it."
There really isn't much to say about this one... Like... if you've been going here long enough you know what's up. If you're new, read Much Like Suffocating to get some background on what King is talking about.
* Yamazaki's comment toward her occurs in the fic Karma Police (which takes place before this), when she enlists his help to deal with one of King's kidnappers
* Mary kneecaps Mr. Rapist McGoo in Much Like Suffocating, and then again in Bang
* King will occasionally use edibles to take the edge off, so to speak. (Thanks, Yuri!)
Okay, that's it. If you've made it this far thank you for taking the time to read and, hopefully, review! Stay safe out there! Cheers~!