Author: wonderwoundedhearers PM
Some would think that scapegoating the Joker for your own crime is suicide. She sees it as the greatest joke of all. Nolanverse, minor Harley/Crane & eventual Harley/Joker. Non-canon Harley. Lem/Lang.Rated: Fiction M - English - Joker - Chapters: 13 - Words: 35,039 - Reviews: 43 - Favs: 22 - Follows: 33 - Updated: 07-31-12 - Published: 11-22-11 - id: 7572137
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
There's something, the Joker thinks, about this guy – Bruce Wayne – and it's not the fact his cologne smells like the billions of dollars he's worth, but something more intangible, more...well, untouchable. Secret.
And secrets, he knows, are his rogue's speciality.
So he shakes the man's hand, talks to him like one rich guy might talk to another, but all the time he wonders what's painted on the inside of his skull. What makes this guy tick?
And it's not a normal reaction he has for a person – the last person he thought it about was Harley, and just look at her. The guy's hiding something, and the Joker's keen to find out just what.
And Catwoman? He's currently thinking, as Mr Trust Fund starts on about the recent restoration to the stage, about whether the Kitty-Cat will leave the guy bleeding, penniless, or both. The woman's got itchy fingers for glitter, and he's sure Bruce Wayne will have some in some 'uncrackable' vault somewhere that she just wants in on.
The lights dim, the curtains rolling back to applause from the crowd below, and he goes to take his seat, Wayne and his date in the first row and Harley and himself behind them.
Harley's lips are at his ear almost instantly. That coil she'd tightened inside of him earlier in her gym is ratcheted up a notch at the feel of her hot breath on his skin. He wants to feel it on his neck, chasing his blood through his veins.
"There's something...about them."
He eyeballs her before looking back down at the stage. "Pretty sure they're saying the same about us, bunny."
The couple in front of them have their heads together too, Kitty-Cat's shapely lips at Wayne's ear. The Joker watches her full mouth shape her inaudible words, but the red flesh does nothing for him. Even the memory of that first glimpse he'd gotten of Catwoman, that December night years ago outside of Juno's pawn shop in the Narrows, of her in her skin-tight leather suit, doesn't make him itch anywhere like it used to.
He glances at his rogue's mouth in the darkness, and it's not the purple lipstick – though he does like it – or the exact sorta shape of her lips, but a definite part of him gives a hard yank.
"But I know what you mean," he mutters.
She glances at him. "I know better than to give you advice. Just don't get stupid around her, 'cause she isn't."
"Oh, and I am?"
"K.C.," is all she says in reply, and it's all she needs to.
He's not a man who makes many mistakes, but taking his eye off of the ball because of her little, distracting striptease...well, it was a big one.
"Can't you accept an apology when you get one?"
"This is an apology?"
He's not sure what the answer she wants to hear is, but he doesn't give a fuck.
"It's as good as any you're ever gonna get," he tells her straight, and he sees her lip curl in a smile.
"Hm. I like this kind of apology. Better than a cheap card and some trashy flowers."
He turns to grin at her. "You mean, I'm off the hook?"
"You tell me, baby," she whispers. "You did say I was trying to make you bite my line."
Joker slips his arm around her shoulders and presses his face into her hair, ignoring her soft grunt of annoyance.
"I'll bite you anytime." He wants to sink his teeth into her soft shoulder. "Anywhere."
Green eyes meet his over a slender shoulder, and he watches Kitty-Cat's expression carefully. He can't figure out why she looks so troubled.
The show is over, the performers have taken their bows, and almost everyone in the foyer is saying tenor this and soprano that. He's not an uneducated man – not in the ways that matter at least – but the talk is giving him ear-ache.
He motions to the blonde on his arm that they're leaving, and now. Harley gives him a relieved sigh, before slipping with him through the crowd, away from Wayne and his date.
Once they're outside, he hands the ticket stub to the valet guy, who looks to be a few bullets short in his clip, and then turns to Harley, who's looking up the street, her blue eyes focused a few blocks away.
He smells the fire before he sees it, thick at the back of his throat, and he watches as the top of one of Gotham's most spectacular high-rises pops off with an almighty explosion. The debris arcs, the girders of the building groaning, and the flaming roof lands a block closer, crashing down beyond the rooftops of the apartments surrounding them.
"That's one of mine." She half-smiles. "The pink pill brigade."
The Joker doesn't ask how she knows. The car is brought around and they climb in.
The rich begin to flood out of the opera house doors as he and Harley peel away, all of them gasping and pointing at the flaming, smoking wreckage that is orange and black against the dark sky.
He sees her smile out of the corner of his eye as he takes the road leading straight past the wrecked building. There are no screaming people streaming through the building's doors since it's so late, but there are a handful of cops, all standing around their parked cars looking lost and dirty.
"They're nearly through," he tells Harley. "Nearly."
It's been an hour since they arrived back in their building, and Harley is quite comfortably curled into one corner of her couch, idly looking through one of Jonathan's books.
A glass of water sits on the floor, half-empty, and music drifts through her dimly-lit apartment from the bedroom. She can't quite remember the name of the song, but she mouths the lyrics as she thumbs the shiny pages of Pre-Raphaelite art.
"Head down, go to sleep to the rhythm of the war drums..."
She's in a dark pink, silk cami, freshly showered, and she's already given her nails a new coat of black polish. She's finished her before-bed routine, but she doesn't feel like sleeping as such. She's not restless, just...awake.
Harley's also trying to work out why Selina had seemed so worried about Wayne and the Joker together. There's the obvious of the Joker taking offense or maybe a fancy to Bruce's face, but...it just seemed like something more. It had been more than concern that Harley had seen on Selina's face – something like fear.
Bud and Lou suddenly begin jabbering in their room, but she ignores them. She knows he's there.
"Can I...uh, come in?"
She's surprised he's asked. She nods, not looking up from the glossy photographs that make up the book in her hands.
"I don't remember leaving the door open," she tells him, hearing his soft footsteps coming closer.
Harley can't resist a small smirk. "Mm."
The couch dips at her feet. She finally glances up to see the Joker is still makeup-less from their excursion and is now wearing nothing but his black pants from his tux.
Harley lifts an eyebrow. "What is this?"
His chest is...well, it isn't what she'd thought. She'd imagined scars covering every inch of his skin and that it would mainly be an angry pink, but, in reality, it is pale like the rest of him and tightly toned, only a vague silvery line here or there. His muscles are...pleasing.
She doesn't want to compare the two, but she's almost ashamed to think that she had imagined the Joker to have Jonathan's body. He does not. The Joker is the opposite of her sweetness – Jonathan had scars from being beaten down, where the Joker has scars from success. He is still here, Jonathan isn't.
He rakes a hand through his hair, his fingers mussing his slicked back look. His smile is lazy and practically non-existent, and his gaze is intense.
"Wanna finish off what you started in the gym?"
She'd like to say no, but she has to admit, she's been curious about what it might have been like. Doing it on the floor of her gym hadn't felt quite...right. Not that she ever really cared for a special place to fuck, but she listens to her gut and her gut hadn't been pleased with the situation.
But she understands him now – maybe not what makes him tick, but she understands that he will always piss her off and she will never find him comfortable in the generic way. Why? Because he can challenge her, and sometimes he wins. She might still think herself above him, but he's quick and he's clever, and if she were feeling generous enough she might even label him as the only man even close to being her equal.
She puts the book down on the floor by the glass of water and gives him a long look.
She wonders how is mouth might feel, and his cheeks – what about the scars? His fingers are strong, able to bruise, and she likes that his nails are short, even if they aren't the cleanest she's ever seen. His shoulders are broad enough to fit her personal tastes, and his hips are slim enough that his body isn't bulky or out of proportion. He's...sleek, in a way, for a man.
"Ground rules," she says.
His eyes are fixed on her bare legs. "Try me."
"If you treat me like a call-girl after this, expecting me to scratch your every itch, then it's game over."
The Joker's eyes meet hers as his tongue wets his bottom lip. "So I won't go telling the Gotham Post and I won't expect anything from you, fine. But, in return, if you have an itch, you scratch it with me."
"What, you want some twisted form of monogamy?"
"I don't want to get a disease," he stresses, smirking. "I've seen some of the men you hang out with, bunny. I don't want to be sharing anything with them."
Harley laughs – a scoff really – because it's obvious that he doesn't give a flying fuck about infection, he just wants her to himself.
"Fine," she says. "If I want it, I come to you. But, like you said, don't expect anything from me."
She's sure that if there's ever a point where she'd rather stay celibate than sleep with him, she could easy give him the slip and find a quick fuck or find a way to rid herself of him for good. He won't screw up her life, not for this.
"And we play by my rules in the bedroom, unless I tell you otherwise," Harley states.
His brow dips at this. "Is that so?"
"Yes. My body, my rules."
"Hm." He sucks on the inside of his cheek. "Fine. But that puts you two up, bunny, and I want something in return."
She instantly knows those words should have never passed her lips and that they never will with the Joker again, because his gaze is predatory and she suddenly feels as if she's been caught in her own trap.
He leans in, his breath hot against her face as his hand slips up her thigh. "You have to kiss me, Harleen, whenever and wherever I want you to."
Not a terrible request, but a power she knows he'll abuse. She's already given him so many intimacies that she has only ever shared with Jonathan, it's difficult to reason with herself why she shouldn't just let him have this one in return for her control over the sex they might share.
It's a big thing for a man to give up, she knows, and even bigger, she imagines, for the Joker. But he's played this game well, eking out all the little treasures that she hides from the world.
Harley firms her jaw. "Deal."
His smile is small, his focus on her lips, and his left index finger comes up to tap on the pulse point in his neck.
"Here, bunny," he breathes, voice low and dark. "Kiss me right here."
She leans forward, slowly, smelling something ridiculously manly on his skin that seems part gunmetal and part night-time. He's dark and twisted, and he smells like fresh rain on the city's backstreets.
When Harley's lips touch his neck, she wonders how a man so pale can have such feverishly hot skin. It can't all be because of her...can it? She had no idea she affects him so much.
His pulse beats thickly beneath her parted lips and caressing breath, and his hand grips her thigh harshly when she presses her teeth to the heartbeat, wanting to feel its tempo even more keenly.
The Joker's breath leaves him in a shudder as Harley gently sucks against his artery. Her left hand grips his neck, tipping his head back with her thumb beneath his jaw, while he takes her right hand between his strong fingers and presses it against his stomach.
She slips her fingers down beneath the waistband of his pants, barely brushing the soft hair at the base of his cock, before pulling back from him completely and eyeing the red mark on the side of his neck.
His eyelids are low, his eyes black, and he looks about ready to fuck or kill. She gives him a sinful half-smile, standing from the couch and taking the hallway to the bedroom.
When she reaches the door, she looks back over her shoulder at him.
"Are you coming?"
His eyes close and he licks his lip. His fist clenches on the arm of the couch. When he stands, every muscle seems to flex and it makes her body flush with heat.
He follows her with bare feet, a dark grin on his face.