Author: no-more-doubt PM
After years of being controlled and abused, Danielle Maroni is determined to live her life by her own rules. However, when she finds herself face to face with the infamous Joker, her desire for freedom becomes shadowed by something even stronger.Rated: Fiction T - English - Suspense/Romance - Joker - Chapters: 16 - Words: 39,802 - Reviews: 49 - Favs: 60 - Follows: 73 - Updated: 07-11-12 - Published: 06-18-09 - id: 5148470
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
This is my first Dark Knight fic. Well, actually, it's set three months post TDK, but you get the idea. I hope you guys enjoy this first chapter.
R&R and let me know what you think! :]
I was never the type of girl who let fear run her life. In order to survive, I was required to be strong and independent and to not let people walk all over me. Even with the amount of security and stability my last name left me, I knew there would be a time when I would need to take care of myself. I couldn't, and wouldn't, stand under the shadows of my father's dominance and intimidation for the rest of my life. He was respected by his peers and feared by those who sat beneath him, but to me, he was nothing more than a thug craving power and wealth. I was not afraid of him. I was afraid of nobody.
This attitude brought me a lot of trouble.
You see, Sal Maroni couldn't stand the idea of his own daughter defying him. My mother had died long ago, and being an only child of an infamous mob boss, I was left with the responsibility of carrying on the Maroni legacy. Being female, that meant marrying someone my father approved of and having children of my own. Despite my own ambitions and dreams, I had no say in the matter. Sal Maroni controlled my life, and every time I fought my way out of line, he would beat me back into it. He would try to break me, beat me into submission so that his own selfish pride wouldn't be burned.
However, he underestimated my strength. Thanks to television and the help I received from some of my father's lackeys, I was able to learn how to properly wield a knife and shoot a gun by the time I was seventeen. A little late, but I'm proud to say that I'm stronger and more capable than most of the other women in Gotham. In fact, being the daughter of a mob boss has its perks. I'm a pure genius when it comes to crime and have no shame in that fact. So, while my father spent his nights gambling and sleeping with expensive whores, I prepared myself for the day when I would have my freedom.
Killing him became my ultimate goal.
Needless to say, when he was murdered by Two-Face, I was both elated and jealous.
All my planning went out the window, but I reveled in the fact that I was free. My wealth and stability disappeared with him, but I frankly didn't give a shit. I was free to live out my own life, and whether or not that involved crime, I didn't care. My entire life was wasted on my father and his plans, but with him gone, no one was left to stop me from getting what I wanted.
A month after my father's death, his money ran out, taken by the Gotham police for one reason or another, but it didn't matter to me. I had used enough of the money to rent out a small apartment for a few weeks and found myself a decent job as a bartender in a local nightclub. Nothing fancy, and nothing chic or expensive. I had wished for something new, something exciting and different, and that's exactly what I had found. My life was anything but glamorous now, and I loved it.
That is, until I met him.
I both curse and savor the moment he came into my life.
Be careful what you wish for, right?
It was a chilly November night — a Friday, to be exact. It had been three months since my father had been killed and my life consisted of a fairly stable routine. I got hundreds of dollars in tips during the weekends, and it felt good being able to support myself without having to rely on my last name.
Tonight, the club was beyond busy. I stood beyond the bar pouring drink after drink for patrons and newcomers as the music blared and the neon lights flashed across the dance floor. The room was musty, reeking of sweat and perfume. Couples crammed themselves onto the brightly lit tiles of the dance floor, grinding their bodies together and flirting endlessly.
I stood with my back turned towards the action as I poured a group of men their shots of whiskey, but I could see everything clearly through the wall-length mirror in front of me. I took time to stare at my own reflection, checking to make sure my appearance was presentable. My dark brown hair was pulled back into a loose ponytail, which fell gracefully down my back. I brushed a few loose stands behind my ears and couldn't help but notice the circles that were beginning to appear under my green eyes, an indication of my lack of sleep.
Forcing a smile, I grabbed the drinks and turned to the bar.
"Here ya fellas go," I said politely. All five of the men were still relatively sober, thankfully. One of them, an attractive man with ebony hair, stared at my nametag and smiled up at me.
"Danni, is it? Short for Danielle?"
I smiled. "Yeah, but I prefer Danni."
"Well, Danni, how about you and I meet up after your shift? I'm sure you'd enjoy my company."
He put his hand on mine, and I quickly removed it and placed it under the bar. This wasn't the first time someone like him had come in here and hit on me. He was attractive, but I knew his type. Guys like him were no different than my father. Handsome face, clean-shaven, expensive suit —a rich man looking for an easy lay in the lower areas of Gotham when the upper parts couldn't fit his needs. It was disgusting, and what most guys didn't know was that I was anything but easy.
"I'll have to pass," I said shortly, not caring whether or not he could hear my disdain.
His friends laughed and jeered at him quietly and I could see his scowl through the darkness of the club. Like my father, he couldn't stand his ego being bruised, especially by a woman. Turning away from them, I quickly busied myself with some bottles, organizing them until I heard someone call for service down at the other end of the bar. I tried to ignore the fact that the man was watching me. I hated being stared at. Not only was it rude, it was unnerving. An hour later, he and his friends left and I breathed out a sigh of relief.
My boss, Jake Lameer, seemed to notice.
"Were those guys giving you trouble?" he asked, his deep voice humming over the music. "I can always take care of them for ya."
I smile and shook my head.
"I just bruised another ego tonight, that's all. He'll get over it. They always do."
Jake snorted, glaring after the group of men as they made their way out of the club's dark, wooden doors. He was a big guy in his early thirties with broad shoulders and a muscular physique. He was a sweetheart underneath all of the muscle though, and despite the fact that we both knew I could take care of myself, he was constantly trying to protect me from the men he thought were trouble.
By the time my shift ended, it was around two in the morning. The crowd in the club had dispersed, but business was still thriving. I said goodbye to Jake and my other co-workers, grabbed my bag and coat from underneath the bar, and headed towards the back door. Wrapping my black coat tightly around my body, I braced myself for icy wind to hit my face. A thin blanket of snow lay on the ground and on the tops of the trashcans that lined the side of the building. The deafening music inside the club became nothing more than a low rumble and I slowly began walking down the darkened alley towards the dimly lit street.
My boots crunched against the fresh snow, but after a few steps, I could hear the unmistakable sound of someone behind me. Instinctively, I reached into the pocket of my coat and grabbed the handle of my small switchblade, but before I had time to pull it out, I felt an arm wrap around my neck tightly. My vision blurred as they tightened their grip, their muscles pressing against my windpipe.
"I've been waiting out here a long time, Danni," the man whispered in my ear. I could smell the heavy scent of alcohol on his breath and his familiar voice sent a shiver down my spine. Spinning me around, the ebony-haired man from earlier slammed me against the brick wall of the club, holding my neck painfully in one hand. I clawed at his wrists, digging my nails into his flesh, but his grip didn't loosen. The look in his eyes screamed of anger and lust. His hair was disheveled and his light blue shirt hung loosely out of his black pants. I could feel the bruises forming on my neck as he choked me. Taking his free hand, he grabbed both of my wrists and pinned them above my head.
"I always get what I want," he whispered, his lips inches away from mine. The small of his breath made me want to vomit.
"Fuck off," I seethed, trying to wiggle my way out of his grip. He simply laughed.
Angered and panicked, I slammed my right knee into his crouch, which must have caught him off guard because he fell to the snowy ground almost immediately, withering and groaning in pain. I took the opportunity to run for the street, but soon felt him grip my ankle. He tugged sharply, causing me to fall and slam my head on the cold cement. I watched dizzily as my blood mixed with the snow and soon found myself on my back. I could feel the man's weight press into me as he held me down.
"You stupid bitch!" he screamed, slapping me hard across the face and splitting my lip. I glared up at him, trying to gather myself together before the unthinkable happened. I screamed out as I fought against him, hoping someone would hear me, but the music in the club was far too loud and the streets were completely empty. Whatever I needed to do, I needed to do it and fast. With all my strength, I struggled to push him off of me and succeeded enough to where I could reach into my pocket for my blade. I grabbed the handle and quickly tore it out, ready to slash at his face as he continued to advance on me.
However, he caught my wrist in his hand and twisted it painfully, forcing me to drop my only weapon in the snow. He glared down at me and struck me across the face again, smearing blood along my cheek.
"Now, Danni, what were you planning on doing?" he asked gently, but the cruelty in his voice was more than clear. Gripping my neck again, he squeezed tightly and brought his lips dangerously close to mine. "I told you I always get what I want."
What happened next was a blur. One minute, the creep is pressing his lips against mine and choking the life out of me, and the next his dead body is pressing me further into the snow with a bullet lodged deep into his back. I hadn't even heard a gun shot, but I didn't take the time to try and make sense of it all. I quickly rolled the man off of me, grabbed my blade out of the snow, and held it out defensively. Through the alley shadows, I could make out a group of men making their way towards me. There was five, maybe six. They all had guns.
Hastily, I turned to run in the other direction towards the street, but ran into another man almost immediately. I gripped the front edges of his velvety coat to hold me up, my face buried into his soft shirt. For a brief moment, I thought that he might be there to help me, but the sound of his familiar laughter reached my ears and killed any hope within my heart.
I had heard his infamous laughter on the news.
I had heard my father speak of him with the other crime bosses.
His insanity was legendary, but how could he be here now? He had been incarcerated in Arkham Asylum three months ago.
I looked up slowly, hoping that I was wrong, but the make-up was hard to mistake. His pale-white face stood out against the darkness with his eyes covered in black make-up and partially hidden by his stringy blonde-green hair. His smile was caked in red and over-exaggerated by his scars. His shadowed gaze penetrated my own and his cruel smile sent shivers down my spine.
"Well, hello beautiful," he said, cackling as he lifted me up so that our faces were level.
His smile widened, and for the first time in my life, I was truly afraid.