|Hide Your Troubles Behind a Grin
Author: Chthonic Spock PM
It's a simple trip to Gotham City Bank, what could go wrong? Only everything! This “simple trip” becomes a hellish experience as the Joker finds a new audience for his scar story.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Suspense - The Joker - Words: 3,920 - Reviews: 9 - Favs: 12 - Follows: 2 - Published: 08-10-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4462247
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Yeahhh, so this story is a product of my thoughts in the shower.
My beta's penname is technicolorheart. She is very cool, and she helped/basically came up with both the title and the summary. Go her!
I've put the rating as T, but if anyone feels that this is a bit too, eh... I dunno, intense for a Teen rating, I'll bump it up to M. Just stick it in the review I know you're just dying to give me.
It was my first paycheck. I was eager to cash it in, to finally be able to help my mom with the rent, begin saving up for college, start doing the things I wanted to do with my life. I walked, well, more like half-ran, to the nearest bank, a couple of blocks away from my job at a small café, in which I was a waitress. My heart felt light, I couldn't wipe off the giddy smile plastered on my face.
I walked through the impressive set of glass doors that lead into the prestigious Gotham City Bank, my check clutched tightly in my hand. I attempted to control my smile in order to appear as professional as possible when I handed off my paycheck to the teller. It was late at night; the bank would be closing soon, so there weren't very many people there, and only two tellers.
I'd never really been inside a bank this size before, and I found myself a little overwhelmed by the extreme amount of wealth that seemed to exude from the establishment. I suddenly felt extremely cheap in three-year-old jeans and multiple jackets. I fingered the pocket of my innermost jacket, excited that in a few moments, it was going to be filled with money. Though I carried a purse, nothing of any value was in it. No one really kept their money in their purses in Gotham, not if they wanted to keep it.
I headed towards the teller, already feeling a bit high again, almost invincible, really. After I cashed in my check, I was going to go home and take my mom out to a restaurant, something we hadn't done in months, not counting McDonald's, of course.
Suddenly, a shot rang through the air, loud and harsh, cutting through the quiet conversations that had been taking place. Several people screamed, most people dropped to the floor, myself included. I put my hands over my head and crouched down low, looking frantically from the door to the group of men dressed in dark clothing coming through another entrance.
"Oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck," I whimpered, still eyeing the door. "Of course this is the day the bank gets robbed, the day when I'm getting paid." I clutched at the check in my hand. There were more gunshots, more screams, and strangled yell, and a woman began crying. I wondered if I'd be able to make a run for it, get outside before the men could gun me down. I marked it off as a stupid idea and instead attempted to make myself as unnoticeable at possible.
Apparently, someone else had been thinking the same thing, though they had come to a different conclusion.
A man sitting several feet behind me sprang to his feet and made a run for the door. I turned my head towards the sound of footsteps and saw the frantic look in his eyes, widened to the point that they looked ready to fall out of their sockets. I ducked my head and stared at the man as he looked back briefly. At that moment, I heard another gunshot, and the man stumbled. A spasm overtook the man's body, and blood began oozing from a massive wound in his heart. We screamed together as he crashed into me, knocking me onto my back. My head hit the marble floor with a sharp crack, and brilliant white stars exploded in my vision.
The man, crazed idiot that he was, tried to crawl over my body, his hand reaching for the door. A warm, thick liquid was soaking the front of my shirt. I tried not to think about it as I wrestled with the heavyset man, attempting to get him off of me.
I heard slow, measured footsteps, like the heartbeat of a dying man. Something was being dragged, probably making scratches on the polished floor. The man, still crawling on top of me, made a panicked noise, though his struggling was weakening. I could actually feel the blood on my skin, as it had soaked through all my layers of clothing. I felt like I was going to be sick. God, I'm going to die, I'm going to die in this stupid bank, just because this idiot won't stop struggling. I wanted to cry, I wanted to punch the man in the face for drawing attention to myself, I wanted to be anywhere in the world but here.
"Fuck, oh fuck," I whispered as the footstep came closer. My view was obstructed by the man who was now simply lying on top of me. His chest was moving, I could feel it, but his breathing was slowing down, becoming inconsistent. I couldn't push him off; he was too heavy for me to roll over.
The footsteps stopped.
"Well, well, well, what have we here?" an almost lilting voice murmured. "I see a man attempting to escape my little soirée. For shame…" The owner of the voice laughed, harsh, dry, full of contempt. "And it looks like you're trying to smother someone. Hm, don't want to die alone, do you?"
The man whimpered, and I turned my head away from him as blood leaked from his mouth and into my hair. Suddenly, the man's face contorted in pain as he was kicked in the side. He let out a yelp and rolled off of me and onto the floor next to me. I let out a relieved breath, which immediately died as I saw who was standing over us. It was rather difficult not to mistake the face paint, or the scars, for that matter. Clad in a purple suit, his greasy, tangled hair pushed back away from his face, Gotham's Clown Prince stood before us.
Holy shit, it's the Joker. Oh God, no, please tell me this isn't real.
"Well hello, girly," the Joker said, his lips pulling back into a smile. I found myself fixated on the scars, how they stretched slightly at the movement of his lips. They both fascinated and sickened me. I shrank away, and my eyes involuntarily wandered over to the door several feet away. The smile on the Joker's face grew. "I hope you're not thinking of escaping." He wagged a gloved finger at me, as if he were reprimanding a child.
The man beside me groaned and shifted slightly.
"Unless you wanna end up like him." He laughed again, and I shuddered. "Now, I think I'll just-" The Joker's face contorted in fury as the dying man began talking.
"Pl-pl… please help me…," he pleaded, grabbing at my hand. I tried to pull away, but his grip tightened. He looked at me with wide, frightened eyes, his lips moving as he began to form another sentence.
"You know, interrupting someone while they're in the middle of talking is very rude!" the Joker shouted, his voice immediately losing its soothing quality. He hefted the machine gun he had been toting and pulled the trigger. I screamed and rolled away as the man shook under the rain of bullets. When the Joker finally let go, the man stopped moving, and I started quaking violently.
"Now where was I," the Joker began, his voice instantly becoming smooth once more, "Oh, yes, I don't want you running off like him, so let's just move you over here, so you can hang with the other hostages."
The Joker grabbed hold of my arm and pulled me roughly to my feet. I staggered slightly, but managed to gain my footing before he started pulling me along. I looked back at the dead man and noticed that my check was lying on the ground next to him. My stomach felt as if it had just dropped to my feet, but I didn't dare try to go back for it. The Joker gave me a once over, his eyes moving down my body. He raised a brow and said, "You know, your clothes are covered in blood." I held back the bile that rose to my throat as the smell of blood, tangy and coppery, invaded my nose. "You should really consider clean-"
"Boss," a voice called from across the room. "Whadya want me to do wit' the explosives?"
"Dammit, why does everyone insist on interrupting me!" the Joker shouted. His question was met with an eerie silence, and the crony that had called out shrank back. "Just set it up over there," he waved his gun over to the tellers box. One of the tellers was lying over the counter, looking awfully limp. I had the sneaking suspicion that he was dead, and I was once again reminded of the fact that the blood of a dead man now stained my clothing. "Just try not to blow us all up, idiot." He turned back to me, "Honestly, it's like all my henchmen are completely brain dead." He looked as if he was expecting some sympathy, so I nodded my head, not wanting to provoke him. "I'm glad you understand."
He began pulling me over to the group of people huddled together in the middle of the room. They were all bound and gagged.
"Hey boss," a voice crackled through a radio, "I've opened the safe. I'm filling the bags now."
The Joker held up his machine gun and pointed it at me while he pulled out his radio. "Heh, yeah. Bring the bags in here once you're finished." He gestured with his gun for me to start moving, which I did quite willingly, not wanting to spend another second within three feet of the man. The Joker put the radio back on his belt and grabbed my arm again.
"Ho man, this is fun, real fun," he said to me, almost conversationally. "You know, you should try it some time. It's… its… exhilarating." He smiled almost giddily, and I was reminded of the smile I had worn several minutes ago. I inched away and began walking faster, eager to get away from the madman.
The Joker draped his arm loosely around my shoulder and began drumming his fingers against my upper arm. "What, trying to get away? Why, I thought we were becoming friends." He patted me on the shoulder, and I jumped as if I had been shocked. I turned my head away from his face, not wanting to look at him. The Joker cocked his head slightly, then sighed heavily. I turned back towards him when I heard the noise. "It's the scars, isn't it," he said sadly, though I could see the mocking laughter dancing in his eyes. His very presence seemed to radiate excitement, as if he was gearing up for something. "They do that to some people." He frowned, as if thinking about something. "Makes them nervous, jumpy, y'know?" I tried to pull away, do anything to distance myself, even just a little bit, from the Joker. Tears sprang to my eyes as he spun me around and pulled me to him. The machine gun he had been carrying dropped to the floor.
"Hey, hey," he whispered, his voice gaining that soothing, secretive quality, "Wanna know how I got 'em?" He smacked his lips, obviously very eager to tell me.
He pulled me close, his hand gripping at the back of my neck, fisting my hair. With his other hand, he pulled out a knife, a long, mean looking thing, and pressed it against my cheek. I wanted to cry, wanted to scream, but I knew that if I moved so much as an inch, that blade would slice through my cheek like butter. "You see, one day, when I was about, oh, I dunno, your age, maybe a little younger, I was walking home from a friend's house. It was kind of dark outside." He tilted his head, and a strand of blond hair tinged with green fell across his face, snagging a bit on one of his scars. I kept my eyes focused on the tangled, greasy strand, trying to drown out his voice, so loud, so persistent. "When I think back on it, I realize that I should have taken the bus, but no, oh no, no, no, I decided to walk." He grinned at me, displaying yellowed teeth. "So, I'm walking down the street, when, ah, when a hand, reaches out of an alleyway, and drags me in. I try to struggle, but no, oh no, no, no, can't do that, can we?" The Joker paused in his tale, staring at me intently. I suspected it was intended as a dramatic pause, not that I wasn't already hanging on to his every word.
I found myself unable to think, unable to breath, unable to do anything other than listen to the Joker. The world as I knew it had been whittled down to just me and the Joker. The muffled sounds of men and women crying softly against their bonds, the steady dripping of blood from the recently deceased teller, the sounds of traffic just outside this building; everything had become white noise. It was just me, the Joker, and his story.
"The man pulls out a knife and presses it against my mouth. He pushes me against the wall, and in the light, I can see that he has these scars, these horrible, hideous, scars that stretch from here," at this, he dragged the knife lightly over my cheeks, and I couldn't help but stare at his own scars, "To here. He pulls me closer, and he says so softly," he dropped his voice to a whisper, and his face filled my vision. His warm breath washed over my face, smelling of red wine, making me light headed. "Yes, yes, he says to me, 'You look a little sad, boy. Life bringing you down? Girl trouble?'" The Joker leered at me, and it felt as if spiders were crawling down my back. "I shake my head, so nervous, so frightened. He says to me, he says, 'You should keep a smile on that face. Hide your troubles behind a grin.' And then he dragged the knife across my face," he growled the word 'dragged', stretching it out as the pressure of the blade on my face increased. His grin became sadistic, chilling me to the bone. "Now I'm always smiling." His grip, which had shifted to her chin, tightened, and after studying my own face shrewdly for a moment, he pushed the blade down harder and whispered, "You know, you look a little sad, girl. Life bringing you down? Boy trouble?" His eyes gained a manic gleam as he murmured, "Let's hide those troubles behind a grin." I began crying, silently pleading with him, though I knew my cries were meeting deaf ears.
I heard sounds commonly associated with a fight: namely grunts, the sounds of fists hitting flesh, bones crunching, shouts. The sounds barely registered in my brain, as I was too preoccupied with the knife digging into the soft skin of my cheek.
The Joker's eyes flashed upwards, and his grin dropped for a moment. "Oh look, girly; we have a visitor." He spun me around and shifted the blade to rest against my throat, pushing down just enough to give me a constant reminder that it was there. However, I found myself very preoccupied by the visitor that had interrupted the Joker from his random maiming.
Clad in black armor, looking larger than life, the Batman stood before us. My eyes probably widened to the size of frying pans at the sight of him. My heart, which felt as if it had recently taken residence in my throat, became less constricted, less erratic. He looked mean, powerful, and ready to absolutely annihilate the Joker. I felt elated, knowing that somehow, he was going to rescue me, save me from this monster.
"Hey there, Batman," the Joker greeted in a surprisingly friendly manner. I wrote off the sudden change in tone as the mood swings of a madman.
"Let the girl go," Batman snarled in a deep, almost demonic voice.
"You know, I may be a little rusty at this whole, uh, heist thing, but I hear that it's always great to have a bargaining chip to prevent situations from getting… messy," he hissed the last word, and with that, pressed the knife against my neck hard enough to draw blood. I yelped at the stinging sensation, but didn't dare move for fear of having myself cut further. "This girl is my bargaining chip." The Joker tilted his head to the side, pressing it up against my own.
"The police are going to be here any minute, Joker," Batman began, but was quickly cut off.
"All the more reason for me to get going."
The Joker began walking backwards, and I began panicking. The frightened look in my eyes must have set off him off, because he snarled at Joker and started forward.
"NO!" my captor shouted, wrenching my head back as he did so. Still walking backwards, he continued talking, "Don't think that I won't kill this girl, because I'm really dying to do it. Besides, I think you have some more pressing matters to attend to. There's a bomb behind the teller's counter. Unless you want to see these people mixed together as lumps of flesh," he gestured slightly with the bloody knife to the group of people sitting together, struggling against their bonds, "I suggest you start worrying about defusing that bomb."
Batman looked torn between the two situations, and the Joker used his indecision to walk through the doors with me still in his grasp, where a van filled with thugs and cash sat waiting with the back doors open. I prayed that the Joker would let me go once he got to the van. He seemed about to, his grip on my hair loosening as he was nearly at the van. I was ready to break free, run away and never look back; screw the paycheck lying on the ground, there was no way in hell that I was going to live within a fifty mile radius of Gotham after this incident. But, as luck would have it, something horrible, something absolutely positively horrible happened.
The police chose this moment to show up, and suddenly, the Joker required me as a bargaining chip once again.
Men in blue uniforms streamed out of their cars, whipping out guns and pointing them all at me and the Joker. I fought the urge to groan, wondering if my luck could possibly get any worse.
"Hm, looks like this is your lucky day, girly," the Joker whispered in my ear. "You get to go on a little car ride with me and my friends." I could feel his laughter rumble through both of our bodies. The Joker raised his voice to a shout, "Now, now, men. Come a step closer, and I slit the girl's throat. Follow my van," he jerked his head back at his vehicle still waiting on the curb, "And you'll find the poor girl's body in an alleyway. Probably mutilated, I might add." I could practically hear the nasty grin in his voice. To my horror, someone shouted an order, and men were lowering their guns, some giving me sympathetic looks, others running inside to diffuse the situation, and more importantly, the bomb. I noticed that Batman was absent from the scene, and my heart plummeted into my stomach, leaving me with a heavy, sick feeling. "Good boys," he jeered.
The Joker made his way up to the van and stepped carefully inside, pulling me back with him. The door slammed shut, and the van peeled off into the nearly vacant streets.
Through the compliments the henchmen were throwing at each other for pulling off a heist, the Joker and I sat in silence. I sat there feeling quite dead on the inside, wondering how the hell I could have gotten into this situation, how my mother was going to function without me, when exactly the Joker was going to kill me. The words 'why me' played a loop through my head, and once again, I marveled at the enormity of my bad luck.
After several minutes of self-pitying, I looked up to see the Joker staring at me strangely. I figured he was imaging different ways to disfigure my body, but I felt compelled to ask him what he was thinking about anyways.
"W-what?" I asked, trying to pull myself together. I figured I might as well die in dignity. I'd done a bang up good job of behaving like a complete coward for the past twenty minutes, but I didn't want to die one.
The Joker smiled at me, and I found myself drawn towards his scars once again. I noticed in the detached way that some feel right before they figure they're about to die, that his makeup was starting to fade a bit, reveal cracks, imperfections in his flesh, aside from the obvious ones.
After several moments of silence, I gathered that he wasn't going to answer and began to turn away. Abruptly, he stated, almost eagerly, I noticed, "I think you'll be a silent one."
"What?" I asked, my brow furrowing in confusion.
At that, he gave me the wickedest grin I had ever seen on a human being.
"Oh, you'll see."
A/N: Ahhh, seven pages of hot Joker action. This is basically a one-shot gone wrong, which I wrote on and off for the past twelve hours or so. I figured I'd post it because, well, because I live life on the edge. Oooooh yeahhhhh.
Well, this was a real pleasure to write. I had no idea where I was going with it; I just had the scar story floating around in my skull. I figured a plot of some ilk was required in order to post this on, so this work of art was born.
Feel free to give me a review. I'd like to know what you think about it. I especially want to know how you feel about my Joker characterization. Flames are silly, so don't bother with those. I am aware that there are several inconsistencies in this fic, but this was a one-shot written purely for fun. Perhaps you should use all that pent up rage over the massive amount of fail in my story for something more productive. I suggest sticking it to the man.
Now that I've given you all my customary unnecessarily long author's note, I'll leave you be.